When Julia left Seville to return to her home in Bristol she bequeathed her metro card to me with the caveat that it had only a few cents credit remaining. It is easy to add credit at the machines in the metro lobby, and 20 euro buys me about ten round-trips into the city. My inherited card was slightly frayed on the edges and the laminate was beginning to peel off, and when tapping my card at the turnstile I often received a red light with an error message: new card needed. But I was always able to coax out a green light with a few more taps and the finicky turnstile would let me pass. Until the day it didn’t.
It was a quiet afternoon in the metro station and I had to wander a bit to find the attendant. With gestures and broken Spanish, I explained that I needed a new card. He smiled and took my card, then walked to the turnstile and reverently placed the card on the scanner glass. A green light appeared and the gate opened.
He turned to me, smiled and handed back my card. Then, in English with a sonorous Spanish accent, he said “with love“. A simple message to remember to approach everything in life with an attitude of love. Now I smile every time I go to the metro and lovingly place my card on the scanner. I pause for a split-second and remember the lesson of the metro card, “with love“, and I feel happy.