Today, I received a very exciting letter in the post. At first I thought it was a red letter telling me that the helicopter hovering above was actually the bailiffs training in on my house. Such a letter would've been much lighter, whereas this envelope was heavy. So I opened it, lo and behold, it was a letter from Almex, with 90p in the form of a 50p, and two 20p coins. These were the words of the letter:
Dear Mr Nkem,
Thank you for contacting us about a problem you experienced with a Roadside Ticket Machine recently. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
I enclose a refund of £0.90 in respect of the money you lost.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and I apologise once again for the inconvenience caused.
All 90p! In cash! Who says there's no customer service in Britain? Last Thursday I was on Whitehall trying to get a bus ticket from the roadside machine, and as is usually the way with all roadside machines (especially the parking ones) it swallowed 90p of my hard-earned unemployment benefit, not a ticket in sight. So I did my civic duty by kicking it and shaking it until an alarm sounded, threatening to embarrass me. But I was going to let a little siren and a flashing red light from the machine stop me trying to get my money back. Luckily there was a telephone number one could call to report the thievery of money by TFL bus ticket machines. I called the number, said my spiel, and told them how much I had lost. I forgot all about it, only to see the letter this morning. They are a very generous lot, aren't they? In retrospect I should probably have told them £100 in coins were stolen by the machine, and given the excuse that I thought it was a fruit machine. Yes I know, it wouldn't have worked.
I was planning on writing a book tentatively titled, "Fare Dodging within the M25, and other saving tips", subtitled "stickin' it to da man". Bendy buses I hear you say? There's a lot more to fare dodging than bendy buses, trust me. Almex's honesty and generosity has caused me to rethink, maybe not all transport organisations are Mephistophelian money suckers. Perhaps they're really fluffy bunnies, and they only charge commuters because Red Ken threatened to drown other fluffy bunnies in the Thames if they didn't charge. Who knows?