So when we were planning our “Cleveland Night Out” trips for the first-year students I naturally volunteered to take students to see a movie at Tower City. The goal of the night was to teach them how to use the RTA (public transportation system) and show them some cool things to do in the city. I could totally dig this. No driving involved, a cool movie and spending time with some new students. I’m in!
Well, knowing my luck things just cannot be that simple. It started with the RTA passes. I ordered them early this week (yes, sorta last minute), but the man assured me they would arrive on time. The order form was a little confusing, but I finally found the discounted “student” tickets and ordered 25 of the student two-way passes and one adult pass for me. The man I corresponded with knew I was ordering tickets for JCU students. When the box arrived on Thursday, I opened them up to find they said “K-12” tickets – “not for use by an adult”. Oh, crud. I called and emailed my contact to let him know what had happened and see if I could just pay the difference. He never contacted me so I figured we would just make do. After all, these students were in 12th grade three months ago, right?
So off we went: me, my GA and 6 first-year students. We survived the ride down to Tower City amidst a pretty loud and inebriated Indian’s Game crowd. I made a mental note to be sure to hit the bathroom to wash my hands when we got to the theater as I touched a few sticky unknown substances. Gotta love public transportation. I gave them each their rapid pass after we exited the train and we headed to the exit. In my haste making sure the students got passes and trying to weave my way through the obnoxious Tribe fans, I wasn’t paying attention to the pass I grabbed for myself. I slid it through the machine – the wrong way – twice, making enough commotion for the RTA official dude to come over and ask to see my ticket (gulp). I showed it to him and he immediately started interrogating me.
“How did you get a student ticket? Who sold that ticket to you?” He just kept firing questions at me without letting me explain. I eventually got out that I ordered them via fax from RTA because I thought they were for college students. Then he started telling me that he could give me a $200 ticket right now for trying to use a K-12 ticket. I asked him what I should do, as I was stuck at the turnstyle with my students all waiting on the other side just looking at me. Then another police dude (uniformed this time) came over and questioned me.
“How did you get a student ticket? I could give you a ticket right now for trying to use that ticket.” At this point I said again, “What would you like me to do?” I won’t write what I wanted to say to him at this point. I took a breath and calmly tried to explain one more time how I came to have the evil student tickets. As the man was finally listening to me, I realized that I had purchased one adult ticket for me. Duh. I reached in and showed it to him.
He looked at it and said, “Oh, yeah, that’ll work” as if this whole drama had never taken place. Phew – crisis averted. Glad that drama was over. No tickets this time – this is good given my track record!
The movie was good. We saw Columbiana and the students enjoyed it. So, we were off on our second trip on the RTA for the night…but not our last, as it turns out. The woman at the turnstyle said the trains were coming on the right and the green train would be there in 2 minutes. Great! About two minutes later the train pulled up and we got on. About two stops into the ride one of the students came up to me and said that another JCU student on the train said we were on the blue train and not the green. Uh oh. I confirmed this with a Tribe fan – yes, we were on the blue train!! Ugh. The good news was, we could just get off on Shaker Square and get on a green train heading back to Belvoir from there. Oh man, leave it to me to get students on the wrong train! Thankfully, we were able to catch the green at Shaker and the students got to see Shaker Square as an added bonus.
I have to say through the entire night the students had great humor and attitudes about everything. They took it in stride and just enjoyed the evening out about town. I’m not sure who learned more last night – the new students or the woman from the suburbs! Well, yeah, I’m pretty sure I know.