I had already forgotten about that encounter, but it is now something I want to share.
It occurred during the first few months of my stay in France. I and a friend decided to visit another city, so we had to go to the train station close to our house to board a train. We purchased our tickets and boarded the train going towards our destination.
We got off the train at a station 4 stops away to board a second train, while engaging in several topics of discussion. Unknown to us, at some train stations, some security officials were placed there, who either board the trains or wait at the check in/out points to check transport cards & tickets for validity.
Well, some boarded the train we were in and started checking. They got to our sits and asked us for ours, we gave them and they checked for validity. We were unfortunately told that our tickets were invalid, and we were to pay a fine. By the way, we were spoken to in French; my friend’s level of French wasn’t superb, mine was worse. We were so confused, so asked why? They continued to speak to us in French and we told them we did not understand a word, and automatically they said WE WERE LYING. In France, most people automatically think you understand and speak French if you are black or white, even if you do not.
We gave them a hard time on the train with our questions, and so we were told to get off the train to follow them to their station. We agreed on going with them. On our way there, they stopped, we did and they tried to speak to us again. They asked for IDs (passports), we showed them, and we told them if they were not ready to explain to us why our tickets were invalid in English, we would gladly follow them to the station. Then, they started communicating in English, and explained to us why our tickets were invalid. We finally understood, paid the fine and left. Sadly, we arrived late at our destination.
Moral of lesson? Be calm! Whatever the situation might be with any security official, do try as much as possible to be calm. Whatever actions you might do could come across as being defensive and violent. Ask questions when you do not understand what could be going on, because sometimes any misunderstanding might not be in your favour. Follow procedures, it makes things easy too. In light of the several police brutalities experienced by people across the world, my condolences. It is hard to be calm while being disrespected by anyone. I do hope whatever case it might be, there won’t be any cause to have any issues with any security official. It’s time consuming, and could be annoying.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]