'I'll be finished in six minutes': Meditating commuter 'berated' by ticket inspector

Samuel Hussey
News Reporter

Melbourne’s public transport system and their ticket inspectors are no strangers to public spats, but chances are you’ve never seen one settled like this before.

Steph Athanasopoulos was on her way to the Greek consulate on Monday morning when she decided to use the trip as a chance to fit in her daily meditation.

What came next had commuters in stitches.

The 27-year-old unlocked her iPhone, set a timer for 20 minutes, closed her eyes and entered a deep session of transcendental meditation, where one reiterates their personal mantra subconsciously in a state of silence.

“I initially thought what if a ticket inspector comes on [while I am meditating], but then I thought I’ve literally never seen one before so [I should be fine],” Steph told Yahoo7 News.

Highly amused commuters watched on as the ticket inspector tried to get Steph Athanasopoulos’ attention. Source: Supplied

“I thought surely they’d understand, they will just think ‘ohh you’re meditating’.”

Unfortunately for the Chapel Street waitress, that streak came to an end about 14 minutes into her meditation session.

“I only became aware [of the inspector] when she smacked on the window next to my head, then she banged the chair, then the bag on my lap, then she started kicking my feet,” Steph explained.

“That’s when I came back to where I was.

“I looked down at my phone, checked the timer and just said ‘hey I am mediating I will be finished in six minutes’ and then closed my eyes.”

“I don’t think she took a breath from her constant berating, she was shouting ‘show me your ticket, by ignoring me you can be prosecuted, the police will get involved’.”

Steph Athanasopoulos said she never intended to offend the ticket inspector. Source: Supplied

‘I was impressed with her commitment’

Fellow commuter Suki was sitting on the other side of the aisle and struggling not to cry of laughter.

“It was a quiet tram, there wasn’t many people on it. The inspector was very persistent and kept repeating ‘excuse me’ and banging on the area around the woman to get her attention but she was so deep in her mediation she didn’t respond.

“I was impressed with her commitment. She didn’t seem flustered at all even when they started saying they were going to call the police.

“I thought it was hilarious.”

When Steph’s timer finally went off, she went to her wallet, pulled out her Myki and concession cards and handed them over to the increasingly frustrated inspector.

“She said to me ‘do you know what would happen if I had to wait 20 minutes for everyone on this tram to finish their meditation?’,” Steph recalled.

“I replied ‘the world would be a much better place’.”

A Yarra Trams spokesperson told Yahoo7 News that authorised officers are employed to ensure passengers travel fairly across the network, who are expected to show a valid Myki card when asked.

The spokesperson said employees are trained in handling such incidents in a professional manner.

“At all times, Yarra Trams expects its employees to show courtesy and respect to people,” the spokesperson said.

“Employees are trained to provide a safe and friendly passenger experience whilst upholding fare compliance rules.”

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