Now most of us, at one time or another, has been the victim of the infamous ‘wrong change giver’.
You know, you’re in the pub, give the bar person a twenty dollar note and he or she gives you the change for a ten.
And no matter how much you protest that it had to be a twenty because that’s all you had, you are eventually forced to give in because it’s just too embarrassing to go on arguing, especially as there’s about twenty people behind you trying to get a drink.
Well, it can happen the other way, too, as a recent occurrence clearly proved to me.
Now although it doesn’t often happen, sometimes someone gets in your cab and you click immediately. Same sense of humour, same beliefs in life, same background, same footy team, it’s great when it happens.
I picked Michael up when he was standing on the corner of Pacific Highway and Mowbray St in Chatswood. He wanted to go to the Soho Bar in Victoria St for, as he put it, “a couple of cooling ales after a shit day at the office.”
Now the Harbour Bridge and its approaches was in its usual stuffed up state so we had plenty of time to swap stories on the way, his being far the funnier. One I shan’t forget in a hurry concerned a particularly ‘height challenged person’ who couldn’t get serves in a particular bar until he demanded loudly “hey, don’t you serve shorts in here?” ( I supposed you had to be there!)
Anyway, by the time we got to the Soho Bar we were the best of friends and still laughing when Michael paid me with a $50 note and I duly gave him the change and wished him well.
As I left I was immediately hailed by another fare who wanted me to take him to the Airport, thinking it was my lucky night I drove happily away.
Now at the Airport things took a turn for the worse as the fare handed me another $50 note. Now to fifties in a row is rare and I wasn’t sure I had the change.
Still, I followed my regular routine of putting the $50 in my wallet. Guess what, not only didn’t I have change for a $50, I didn’t have Michael’s $50 either.
Now what had happened was obvious; we had been laughing so much I had given Michael the change and his $50 back. It’s easy enough to do and I was sure he hadn’t been the type of guy to have taken me for a ride, so to speak.
Anyway, after an hour or so I managed to make my way back to the Soho Bar, hoping the man was still there.
As luck had it, he was there sitting at the bar with a gorgeous young redhead so I went over, apologised profusely and explained my predicament about the missing $50.
Whether it was the presence of the redhead or just his own good nature I don’t know, but Michael accepted my story and, without any arguing at all, handed me over a crisp, new note.
A bit later I started to have my doubts. It was all a bit too easy, he must have known he hadn’t paid me cos he handed the money over straight away, he didn’t even check his wallet or count the notes he had.
I then started to wonder if the note was a fake, perhaps that’s why it had been so easy, perhaps my ‘friend’ was a counterfeiter or, worse, a drug pusher. You know how your mind rushes away with you once it tarts.
Still, I decided, why should I worry, I’d got my money back and had had a good night’s work. I did feel a bit cheated, though, it just goes to show how wrong you can be about people. I suppose that’s why con men get away with it so often, they con you into liking them.
Anyway on the way home I decided to clean the inside of the cab out for the next shift, nice of me, wasn’t it? And there, lo and behold, down by the side of the driver’s seat was, yes you’ve guessed it, a crisp $50 dollar note.
Sorry Michael, I did come back but neither you nor the redhead were there. I can only hope you got as lucky as I did.