Last week I went to San Francisco to present at a professional conference for work but for the purposes of this blog let’s say I went to the city to eat. Anyways I was going to the city and I was having a bad day. You know one of those days when you are barely holding things together and you know that you are going to burst into tears if any little thing goes wrong?
Yeah it was like that.
So it was in this state that I got to the Bay Bridge toll booth and found out that the rates had not been raised to $5 but rather $6.
I had $5.25.
That’s when the grumpy toll both attendant informed me that since I was 75 cents short I was going to get a ticket for $31 in the mail. Needless to say I wasn’t ready for this information after having carefully and specifically packed $5 for the bridge.
The toll both attendant was a middle-aged black woman. This detail is important. Remember it.
You understand that this was the small crisis. I start flipping out tearing apart my car to find 75 cents even though I know in my heart of hearts there is no spare change. Still I flail about hysterically, ripping everything out of the glove compartment and dumping out my suitcase white the attendant watches me. She is equal parts annoyed and irritated.
I meanwhile am working my way into a panic attack. And let me tell you I have the opposite of a poker face. When I am upset, most people in a mile radius can tell. Once I had a professor in college tell me to go home the second I crossed the threshold of his classroom.
So I’m tearing up the car and fighting off the tears and holding up traffic on the bridge when the attendant says “Are you having a bad day or something?”
If the words are nice, her tone was not… she said it in exactly the same way my Dad used to threaten us when we cried “Oh you’re crying? I’ll give you something to cry about”
Instead of answering her question I start babbling about a receipt. She rolls her eyes at me and says “Give me your five dollars and get out of here.” She did not say this kindly but her act of mercy was too much for me.
I immediately started bawling. I spewed, crazy, gulpy, hiccupy, snotty gratitude at her. ”Tha-uam-knk You, so mu-u-u-u-u-uch” I say. She looks at me as if I am the world’s greatest burden which quite frankly to a toll attendant I am. I’ve blocked her lane for an eternity.
She sighs deeply, my incompetence weighing her down and pissing her off and says “Take your receipt and tell ‘em the black lady treated you good.”
That is a verbatim quote.
And now I am holding up my end of the bargain. I’m telling you my blog family that I am very, very, very grateful to that black lady at the Bay Bridge toll both. She treated me good!