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Caught fraudulent and put off the bus in southeast Ireland

Republic of Ireland, August 2009 —

I was caught using a free-travel pass meant for a disabled person, and I was put off the bus on the Kilkenny-Tipperary border in a little village called Ninemilehouse.

An acquaintance had given me the document, a few years earlier.

The truth is that I had the opportunity to get off the bus, and took it.

I was always on the verge of trouble for just being in Ireland — an American strangely and uniquely enmeshed in the Irish system but never legally resident.

I noticed the snappily-dressed official, standing in the aisle bent over speaking to a passenger, just after we'd left Carrick-on-Suir.

He told me that if I could not give him cash, he was going to call the gards — An Garda Siochiana, the Irish police. I'd been using the disability-pass fraudulently.

The woman in front of me offered to pay. This was after the capped man had gone forward to ask the driver to pull over. I thanked her, said that was very sweet, but that he'd given the chance to get off the bus, and I was going to take it.

The driver pulled over, I got out.

I started walking toward Kilkenny, about 32 kilometers away.

A young well-dressed man in a clean late-model car gave me a lift. He was, as others, non-judgemental that I'd given it a try.

We passed the bus at Callan and got to Kilkenny City before it.