Saturday, October 8, 2011
Then it happened. My five-year-old was whining for her Winnie-the-Pooh songs and she had been so good all day. I took it out of the small pile of CDs, ejected the Second Chapter of Acts’ “Roar of Love”, and placed the old CD in the same case. Then she asked to see the case, so I handed it back to her.
We got to our exit and I looked for the ticket which should be sticking out conveniently for me; it wasn’t there. I got off the exit and pulled off to the side, looking all over the seat next to me (which was piled up with an accumulation of traveling stuff), and on the floor between me and my little one.
Did I forget to take the ticket? This had to happen once in a while, right?
I gave up after 5 minutes; found my $1.10 receipt from the reverse trip I had made from same exit that morning; and drove up to the right-most toll booth. I handed him $1.10 and the receipt.
“I lost my ticket,” I explained, “but here is my receipt from where I went this morning.”
“Where did you lose it?” he asked.
“In my car.”
“Well, I can give you a paper to fill out and mail in, but you will have to pay the full price.”
“What is that?”
That is not the kind of money I can afford to throw away, so I asked, “Can I pull over and look again for the ticket?”
He said I could, and informed me that he would be writing down my license plate.
So I looked again, and just as I concluded that I had been daydreaming at the ticket-taking booth and never had the ticket in the first place and that I would have to fork over $26 for my stupidity, I saw the ticket under my foot.
I ran back to the booth and paid. The driver who stopped to let me cross smiled, as if he knew exactly what had happened.
So that’s what happens when you lose your ticket on a toll road.
Do I have a moral to my story? Not really, except that busy moms sometimes make dumb mistakes, and we really shouldn’t get upset when there is no harm done. Somehow, I feel $26 richer now.