Thursday, July 03, 2014

When a Scam May Not Be a Scam

In an earlier post, Another Fare Evasion Story, I explored some train scams that riders pull to avoid paying fares. One of those scams was relayed to me by a colleague who I gave the moniker, "Yahska."

Yahska told me that he'd seen a passenger get on the train, whip out a seat check card that indicated his ticket was already taken, and put it in the little slot in front of him.  It seemed a pretty effective and clever scam.

Now I'm not so sure it was underhanded.

When I got on the train this morning, the number of travelers was pretty light.  It is the Thursday before July 4th weekend, and many people take an extra few days around the holiday.  I had my choice of seats.

As I got comfortable, I realized I'd sat near a small group of older folks who were very chatty.  At first I thought nothing of it.  A few minutes later, the conductor checked tickets and put a seat check card in front of me.

Soon though, their conversation became annoying.  They complained loudly about everything.  I had to move.  Quiet is golden in the morning.

I collected my stuff and instinctively grabbed the seat check card.  When I got to my new seat, I put the seat card in the slot in front of me.

Is it possible that Yahska saw something similar?  Did he see a man relocate when he couldn't take his previous seat accommodations anymore?  We'll never know.  But if this were a trial, my scenario would create reasonable doubt in the prosecution's story.  This juror finds Yahska's defendant innocent.

Happy commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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