So there I am, in San Francisco. Waiting for a bus. You need to understand that I do not, generally, ride buses. It's just not in my day-to-day routine. I don't commute. I haven't been on a bus in over three or four years, as well as I can remember.
So, this bus comes, the one we think will take us to the art store we are trying to find. We think. My friend gets on and is chatting with the bus driver and then they are both telling me to put in $2. So I try to stuff a $1 bill.....into the coin slot. I did a really good job, too, of stuffing that $1 bill into the coin slot. I did not see the insert-a-bill thingie to the right of the coin slot. I did not know that buses had insert-a-bill-thingies.
So then the bus driver sees me with a $1 bill in my hand and points to the insert-a-bill-thingie and so, I do so. Since he says nothing about the $1 in the coin box I don't think to mention it, either. I just followed my friend to a seat and sat down.
A while later the bus driver starts fussing with the coin box. Then he is mumbling and shaking the coin box and I think to myself, "Hmmm...wonder what's wrong." Then it begins to dawn on me that what is wrong is that I stuffed a $1 bill into the coin box....Ooops. Big ooops.
A minute or two later he calls out in frustration, "Who stuffed a $1 bill in the coin box??!?"
I can report that he was utterly surprised when I answered, right away, "I did. I didn't know. I'm sorry." and then I added, needlessly, "I don't usually ride buses."
Then I sat back and braced myself for the expected lecture, the one with sarcasm and (perhaps) some pithy remarks about my ancestry and/or intelligence. But no. None of that. He was an exceedingly kind and patient man who only said, "Oh, well. Happens all the time. Don't worry about it."
Which of course made me feel even worse.
The happy ending is that the bus really did take us to the art store we were looking for, the repair man came to fix the coin box, the bus driver told me to stop apologizing and relax---that it really did happen all the time, and we rode another bus back to our hotel on our return and I knew where to put the bills and I didn't mess up the coin box.
Still, I want to say to Dear Mr. San Francisco Bus Driver that I am truly sorry and regret I added to the frustration and stress of your day. And that you are truly a gentleman and a gentle man. Thank you for your kindness.