As flight tickets would have it, my mother, during her return from Alanya to Washington, DC, would have to a) spend the hours between midnight to six am alone at the Istanbul airport, or b) leave Alanya earlier in the day prior to her flight out of Turkey, spend the afternoon and evening relaxing in the home of friends of mine in Istanbul, then head to the airport rested for her six am flight.
I chose Option B for her, then, realizing that her departure would fall on my day off from work, decided to accompany her on her flight to Istanbul, briefly visit with friends, see her off on her journey home, and pick up a few things from my Istanbul apartment.
We took public transportation from the airport, and after making my way through the turnstile to the tramway, I realized I didn’t have enough money on my fare card for my mom to pass through, too. I handed her the card and a 20 lira note, directing her to one of the nearby machines to add money to the card. Since I was nearby, but on the other side of the gate, a young, fat-bellied bald man in a short T shirt took it upon himself to take the card and the money and “help” my mother add the fare to the card at the machine. We didn’t really need his help, but Turkish people are often helpful, so it wasn’t an odd gesture. Suspiciously enough, this guy didn’t know how to work the machine. (Why offer to help, then?) I ended up telling him in Turkish where to put the card, how to introduce the money into the slot, etc. He was chauvinistically ignoring me and trying to force the card into the money slot. Moron.
Finally, he succeeded in loading the money into the card. Instead of returning the card to my mother, he flashed it at the turnstile and gestured for my mother to walk through. Then he flashed it again and walked through himself. Oh, HELL NO!
I got loud. A security guard who’d witnessed the scene came over and reprimanded the bald fatty, telling him to give the young lady (me) her money. The offender got belligerent and disrespectful, telling the security guard to butt out and go “do his job” and that he was going to give me the money for his fare. Luckily, the security guard remained until the get-over artist went into his wallet and handed me a 10 lira note. I looked in my wallet. The smallest bill I had was a 50. I took his 10, and gave him the two coins I had in my wallet. (The correct change would have been eight lira.)
“This is all I have. You should have asked before you used my card.”
He was pissed! It was his own fault. “Give me my change!” he demanded. “You are wrong!” he exclaimed. I told him that if I had had it, I would have given it to him, but I didn’t, so he needed to leave me alone.
I linked arms with my mom, and together we crossed the platform to wait for the tram. He approached us a moment later in a last ditch effort to get a measly five lira from me. I backed up defensively. He told me not to be afraid. (This mofo is crazy!)
“I’m human, you’re human. It’s wrong of you to keep my change.” He was trying a new approach.
I reiterated what I’d said before, speaking to him as though he were a naughty, irritating, and stupid child. (Which he did, in fact, resemble.)
Then my mother and I hopped on our tram and enjoyed the free ride.