I was travelling home on the boats one night last week, both girls with me. It's something we do regularly; have done for 2o odd years. It was late & we were tired & the boat was late but we settled gratefully in our seats, tickets at the ready, just happy to be going home.
Eventually the deckie started making his rounds of the packed boat. Most of us are regulars & we have multi~tickets that get clicked off but a few people were handing over coins & the deckie was apologising as he went because there had been a mechanical breakdown & that had thrown all the boats off schedule. It happens. The boats run constantly during the day, seven days a week & the occasional breakdown is inevitable. Most of us understand that & accept it as just another quirk of island life. At least a boat eventually arrived.
What we didn't expect was the man in front of us who belligerently refused to pay his fare ~ or his family's fare ~because the boat they wanted to come home on hadn't run! ??? Pardon? He gave the poor deckie an absolute earful. It wasn't the deckie's fault & there was nothing the deckie could do about any of it. The man still refused to pay. He was getting more & more irate as he listed the injustice of having to wait for a boat. Eventually the deckie referred the matter to the driver. The driver slowed the boat & announced loudly to all & sundry that this man up the front was refusing to pay his fare when all the rest of us had paid ours. How embarrassing! I was mortified for the man. Surely he would pay his fare now? Not a bit of it! He stood up & took a bow, flexed his muscles, terribly proud of himself for taking on the big, bad boat company & winning. I'm sorry, I know I'm old fashioned, but that is stealing. What has happened to us that there is no sense of shame when we are caught doing wrong? The worst thing is, I'm told that this form of theft happens a lot!