The other day I set off to the disabled children’s orphanage about 45 minutes from Brasov. It was the time of day where you have to pack into the bus like a tin of sardines. As I barely made it on with the door almost not being able to close, I felt some sort of relief when the driver continued on the route. As we were all squished, shoulder to shoulder, and me being crammed next to the door it didn’t register in my head to stamp my bus ticket into the old machine. You have to get the ticket outside of the bus, which I did, but then you have to stamp the ticket to validate it once inside the bus, which I forgot to do. After getting off and on over and over again to let people get off at their stops, I was only about a minute from my destination. And then…one of the bus patrol/stamp checkers came by and asked for my ticket to check if it was stamped, which never happens. Nevertheless, I pulled my ticket out of my pocket, handed it to him but then realized one side had yesterday’s date and the other side wasn’t stamped.
As the man was trying to communicate to me that I was in trouble, i was trying to explain to him that I spoke English and didn’t understand, which led to him asking for my passport. I gave him my visa and then he realized I was American. After we were able to communicate with each other (a lot of signing hand motions) he was telling me that I was going to be fined 60 lei (about $15) now (if i could pay on the spot) or if I couldn’t pay now, then anytime after would be 500 lei (about $125). I explained how sorry I was, that it was just so packed, that I simply just forgot within the chaos and that I only had 20 lei on me that I could give him. We went back and forth for about 20 minutes until he finally looked at me, gave me my unstamped ticket back, grabbed my hand and said in perfect English, “You know, you’d make a very good wife for me.”
Moral of the story:
Stamp your ticket or risk having to pay a pretty big fine… or receive a marriage proposal!
Written by Izzy Hathaway (who did not accept the marriage proposal, nor did she have to pay the fine!)