I'm an upstanding citizen. I follow traffic laws (mostly...I confess that sometimes I turn right on red even when it says not to). I pay taxes. I'm a big believer in the honor system...even if no one is looking. So imagine my shock and horror when I realized I accidentally stole something yesterday in Texas.
The hotel told me I needed to make a reservation for the airport shuttle 24 hours in advance of my flight. Of course, they told me this 2.5 hours before my flight, so that wasn't really a possibility. Once we took that option off the table, the concierge mentioned that if the shuttle driver had space when he got to the hotel, maybe he'd take me. The shuttle had space. He took me.
As we were driving to the airport I wondered how he knew at which terminal to drop me off. Turns out, he asked me when we reached the first stop...I told him United and he said that was my stop. He held the door open for me, went back to get my bag, I tipped him, and we said goodbye with a smile. I walked with a spring in my step into the terminal, checked in, and hopped on a plane. Smooth travels all around. Pleasant seat mates, minimal chit chat, delicious smoothie at my connection...you know, a nice travel day.
Next morning I'm arranging my receipts to do my expense report. I have to do it right away or I forget where the hell I even was, never mind what I spent. As I looked at the airport shuttle receipt from the airport TO the hotel it occurred to me: I NEVER PAID THE DRIVER for the ride to the airport. I stole a ride. What resulted was a moment of panic (OMG, what's the penalty for this?), followed by guilt (OMG, I'm a thief!). Then I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to remedy the situation. Or even if I should. I didn't even catch the name of the service! It was an honest mistake...kind of like eating meat on Friday during Lent. Heck, that's not even a sin if you didn't do it on purpose, right? Is the same true of accidentally stealing a ride?
What's even more amazing to me is how the whole event unfolded. Because I confidently walked away as if I didn't owe the guy money, he didn't think a thing of it. Act like you belong and no one questions you...Could I rob a bank that way? Don't worry, I'm not going to try it. I freaked out all day over a car ride! I feel like hunting the driver down just to say, "Really, I'm not that kind of person!"
So, does this make up for the fact that the last hotel I was in charged me for the $4 bottle of water in the room when I never even drank it? (Of course I didn't notice until I was home...I'm not that observant. Obviously.) The balance of the universe at work? Perhaps. I'm hoping this doesn't anger the travel gods. I added to my good travel karma by giving up my aisle seat for a center seat so a couple of lovebirds could sit together on my flight down to Texas...maybe I won't be stricken down for this. This confession made me feel better...thanks for letting me get this off my chest...