A few years ago, I would guess late 2003 or so, I was leaving the local Metro station on my way home when I spotted a young Army private standing in front of one of the farecard machines. He was wearing his Class A uniform, with a fully stuffed pack on his shoulders. He looked like he was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
It was clear that he was trying to make sense of the farecard system we use here in DC, and not having much success.
Just as I was walking past the young private, the station manager emerged from his kiosk and walked toward the soldier.
"Hey, G.I.!" he shouted. "You're money's no good here."
The private turned and walked to the manager. A few brief words were exchanged, and I saw the manager hand him something. The manager then escorted the soldier through a small gate next that Metro employees use to bypass the turnstiles.
The soldier was on his way to wherever he was going.
I watched all this, and as the soldier was heading down the escalator, I walked over to the manager and thanked him.
That was 4 years ago, and you'd think that sort of thing wasn't happeneing anymore.
You'd be wrong.