I was standing at one of the CTA fare-card machines, unsuccessfully attempting to recharge my card: my $20 bill was repeatedly spit back. The agent on duty, an older man, approached and asked if I needed assistance. I began to complain about the CTA expecting us to use this system when the machines didn’t even work. The agent smiled and plucked the bill from my fingers. “Oh no, miss,” he replied. “This machine is a female. And the women, they always take the money.” With that, he smoothly reinserted the bill. I watched as the machine completed the transaction and returned my card.

–Marjorie Isaacson

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