The Kind Old Man At The Train Station


(Photo by Nighthawk Photoworks)


Two nights ago, after finishing a shoot, I went to a KTM train station to take a train home.

It was nine thirty and the ticket counter was closed, so I could only buy my tickets through either one of the two ticket vending machines.



One accepted exact change only.

One accepted coins only.

The train ticket was RM1.

I opened my wallet and was a bit miffed that all I had were two RM10 notes.

I popped one of the notes into the first machine, it spat out my note.

I popped it in again, the same thing happened.

After the third time, I cursed a storm and punched the machine, everyone else were indifferent, it was a regular occurence anyway, the sight of an angry person punching the ticket vending machine in annoyance.

Sighing, I started scraping for coins so I could buy the ticket from the second machine.

I managed to compile RM1 from the assortment of 5 cent and 1 cent coins I had. Grinning gleefully, I headed towards the other ticket vending machine.

Turned out that the machine could only 10, 20, 50 cent coins.

I was so frustrated that I contemplated headbutting the machine, but I knew that I would end up plastering the machine with bits and pieces of my brain, so I stopped.

"Hey, these machines don't accept RM10 notes." A hoarse voice called out to me from the side.

I turned and saw an old man, his face weathered by time and the sun. He took out RM10 worth of small change from his wallet and exchanged with me. I said my thanks and bought my ticket immediately.

The ticket gate was slow to react when I inserted the ticket into it.

"Is KTM trying to KILL me?" I snarled.

Fearing my wrath, the gate opened, I ran towards the platform. The train arrived.

The old man was there, we had a chat. He was a truck driver who had just finished his shift, my eyes strayed to his hands, they were filled with calluses. Few moments later, I reached my destination, thanking the old man again, I walked out of the train. As I was near the exit, I caught a glimpse of him through the window, falling asleep as the train continued its way into the night.

Once the sounds of the moving train had faded into nothingness, I returned my attention to the station, and realized that my heart was suddenly filled with disappointment and sorrow towards the country's public transportation system.

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