Justice and Grace

By Lee Karl Palo

© 2012 Lee Karl Palo

 I’m on a Sound Transit bus this morning, November 28, 2012, and witness a passenger get on and attempt to pay with a Seattle Metro bus ticket. The driver explains that the Metro bus ticket does not work on a Transit bus. Given the protestation of the passenger, I suspect the bus driver had seen this kind of shtick from other people. I have suspected other passengers of feigning ignorance of the fact that Metro is not the same as Transit before. The next passenger coming on sees the problem and generously offers to pay for two fares on his universally accepted Orca card (Orca cards work on both Metro and Transit).

 The bus driver insists that each person pay for their own fare.

 Having ridden on Sound Transit many times on my commute to and from work I know for a fact that you can use an Orca card to pay for multiple passengers. This provokes the generous passenger to be even more insistent on paying for the other fare, and he won’t back down.

 The bus driver finally relents.

 I honestly don’t know whether the passenger was in fact ignorant of the difference between Metro and Transit or not. Retributive justice, people getting what they “deserve,” is far more seductive than extending grace. Did that passenger deserve grace or not?

 Do we deserve grace or not?

Food for thought…


© 2012 Lee Karl Palo


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