Even though one of my main blog subjects is ‘happiness’ I’m going to apologise beforehand as this post is going to be a bit of a vent. Towards some people. Of the GVB – the main public transport provider in the city of Amsterdam.
Avoiding this public transport is my aim. I’ll only take a tram or bus when it snows or rains too heavily to cycle. Or when I’m physically too exhausted to walk much or cycle at all.
Today, however, was a non-avoidance day. A hairdressers appointment most of the time is too exhausting to do the cycling to and fro. The whole washing-combing-uncomfy-chairs-and-lots-of-pulling-my-head drains me. Enough about that though. On my way back home something happened on the tram.
A little girl with the big pink bag got on the tram. Wide eyed she placed some money on the conductor’s counter.
I was too far away to overhear the conversation, but from the way the conductor started talking more loudly in Dutch with some English words flung around I made up that the girl wasn’t Dutch. Next thing I know, the girl was send off the tram at the following stop. Second next thing I know, I was too late to jump off the tram too to help her but not too late to see how she walked away upset. Crying, to be precise. The conductor, not at all sensitive for helpless young kids but sensitive enough to notice the critical looks from passengers, then explained to all who wanted to hear it how the girl was 11 (only 11!) and needed a parent with a special pass to be able to pay for a special discount fare for 4-11 years-old. The girl got the discount amount in cash. But no parent or chip card to actually get the discount. And so she had to pay the full fare for a one hour ticket, which is €2,80. Instead of the 34% discount that is given to 4-11 years, which would make the fare €1,85 (if I’m not mistaken…but even with the help of a calculator maths isn’t my strongest subject). GVB almost would have had a gap in today’s budget of €0,95. The girl probably had a €2,- coin with her, so the GVB’s loss could’ve been reduced to only €0,80…but let’s leave that bit of information aside. The girl didn’t speak Dutch. The girl was only 11. The girl even had some money with her.
Come on! COME THE FUCK ON! I don’t want to go all black and Goth or black and white about it, but this is what’s wrong with us humans. Exactly this!
At the next stop I jumped off. Walked back. Passed the stop where the girl got off. I looked for her. I wanted to help her. Take her by the hand, pay for the journey and bring her to B. No pink bag with little girl attached I found. So I walked the last 15 minutes home, not willing to contribute anymore to the GVB. At least not today.
Dear people, call me naïve… but for the love of Tea, is it really always necessary to be so strict?! Is it really impossible to sometimes turn a blind eye? Be kind to one another? Helpful? Are these little kids or homeless people that can’t pay (the full amount) for a ticket really such a threat for the GVB’s annual financial report? I mean, how often does this happen…I refuse to believe that situations like these, can bring a company down. Try a little tenderness, people. Please! I assure you it won’t kill you. Nor will you go bankrupt instantly.
Dear little girl with the big pink bag and tears rolling down your cheeks, I really hope you’ve made it from A to B in the end. And that while on your way to B, you met some warm and helpful people after all. We’re not all like that unwilling and witch-like conductor.