The Fear Of Paying For A Tram Ticket

Adrien Jamai
9 min readJun 12, 2019


It’s the 3rd of June. I just came back from my trip to Lyon yesterday. I’m on a tram. I didn’t buy a ticket. All of a sudden a very unusual sensation of fear washes over me. I am afraid. I’m of getting a ticket. This is unusual, I’ve done this so many times in the past but not once did I experience this. What the hell changed? Why am I experiencing this right now?

Then I remembered…

It was before my experiment. The idea was planted on Christmas break. I started acting on it last Monday, the 27th of May.

I made an interesting observation in my life a couple months ago during Christmas break. I was comparing certain life experiences of mine with those of my brother’s. I had never been controlled by the police or gotten a ticket for anything in my life. Except once for speeding when I forgot there was a radar, but that doesn’t count. I never got anything stolen from me. Ever. I had heard of Pete Adeney aka Mr Money Mustache deciding to not locking his bike up because he evaluated the freedom of not doing so as more valuable than the price of purchasing a new bike if it were stolen. I liked that idea and used it to justify going on public trams without paying. I mean come on, who likes paying for the tram? That is the most brilliant excuse I’ve found to rationalise not paying for the tram. I would go on trams without paying and I’d never see controllers. I enjoyed the thrill of it too. Thinking I had Lady Luck on my side.

Then when my brother comes to visit me in Freiburg (Germany) for Christmas, he takes a tram he gets a control, on the very first day. But I never get controls, I thought, and he get’s one the first time he get’s here! This wasn’t new. Very frequently (at least in comparison to me) he would get controls. Or plain bad luck. And I wouldn’t. The Police would stop him while driving. Not me. He would get his bike stolen. Not me. He would break bones. Not me.

The contrast made me wonder. Why is it that he get’s these experiences and I don’t. Not that I wanted to experience them. But still, I was curious. Why? Is there a possible explanation? I wonder.

I’d been familiar with the idea that your environment is a reflection of your internal world for a couple years. Occasionally considering what it might mean if it were true. Then three months ago, I started learning around with the principle of the Law of Attraction or more precisely the Law of Mirroring. The main idea is that whatever thoughts you think the most (your internal reality) will be mirrored in your external reality.

This contrast with my brother came to mind. I wondered. Is it possible that we are just thinking different thoughts? After all, if my experience has always been that I never get tickets, I’m gonna think that I must be special in some way and think that is the way things are for me. If it is true that what you think reflects in your environment, then I’m probably not gonna get tickets or controls. On the other hand, if my brother’s personal experience has always been that he gets tickets he is naturally going to tend to think that is the way things are. He is going to think he is the type of person that get’s tickets and controls. And if thoughts manifest into reality, then he is at least more likely to experience that than I am, simply because he thinks about that more often.

I was now interested. I wanted to learn more. Of course I was skeptical, but I was also curious. I decided to play around with the idea of manifesting. Consciously choosing thoughts and deciding to focus on them to see what happens. Up till now my interest had been purely hypothetical, a bit too theoretical for me. I needed to do an experiment to test my assumptions.

What would happen if I consciously chose to think similar thoughts to those I expected my brother to be thinking? If it worked I should experience controls and tickets.

I decided to think more about this discrepancy between my brother and me. That was about a month ago. Then I kind of forgot about it.

The thing is, I don’t take trams if I don’t have to. I only did so at the beginning of the year to get around Freiburg when I didn’t have a bike. To me a bike is much more convenient and you have more freedom to get around.

Then, this happened.

For context my left bike break was already broken but I didn’t want to fix it (it broke after sometime after Christmas though)

On May 17th I crashed into a car. It bent the axis on my front wheel. My bike was now unstable. I adapted to my newly deformed bike. I’d been thinking of fixing my bike or just getting a new one since my left brake broke. But no, I would continue riding it. I wasn’t gonna change. I can be stubborn like that.

On May 27th my second brake broke.
Ok, I thought, now this is getting dangerous. I can’t ride a bike without brakes. Now I don’t really have a choice, I guess I’ll change.

I had to take the tram temporarily before I could go get a bike after my Trip to Lyon over the next couple days. So I did. I took the tram. Without a ticket of course. I focused on the fact that I didn’t get a control. Imagining what it might be like. On the weekend I had a trip to Lyon with a friend planned.
The bus ride was at 2.50 a.m. That was going to be fun. I looked at the tram times. There were none running at those hours.
What a pity, I thought, I can’t think about tram controls.

I would have to take my brakeless bike to the train station. So I did. Alone, riding in the cold deserted yellow-lit streets in the middle of the night. Thinking about how ridiculous it is to ride a bike without brakes. You can’t go very fast on a brakeless bike. What if you have to stop?

I don’t know much but somehow the above mentioned events look like the universe was conspiring to get me to ride a tram.

We got on the bus with my friend. The bus drove off. A couple hours later the bus was stopping. I was dead tired. I saw some gas-station-like looking building, then some guards. I guess we were at the border.

“Swiss boarder control, please take out your passports.”

There isn’t much more annoying than you being shit faced and having to wait for a whole bus to get controlled when all you want to do is to sleep. I didn’t yet notice what my thoughts had gotten me into.

Everything went well. We passed in France without a control. I didn’t even notice the border.

We got in Lyon. I was feeling rested and awake by now. My friend and I had fun. Great 31st of May.

Then something popped up, we would have to part ways for the last day. I’d explore Lyon a bit on my own for a couple hours, before we left for Freiburg.

Somehow, on my own, I felt a calling, a mysterious need to take a tram. Yes, of course without a ticket. A curious thing. But hey, I decided to do an experiment.

I was waiting for the tram. 4 minutes to go.

I pace around.

I could buy a ticket. It’s just a little money…
Yeah, but let’s not do it this time around. Let’s see what happens.

This was like one of those little moments you see in cartoons where the mini red devil and mini white angle are arguing on the shoulders of the main character, each whispering into his ears, telling him what to do.

I could see a surveillance camera.

I guess someone is gonna be seeing me not take a ticket.
Yeah, but no ticket this time.

2 minutes.

You still have time for a ticket.
Yeah yeah.

The tram is coming now.

Last chance for a ticket.
Nah, bro, another time.

I got on the tram. Without a ticket. I guess the little red devil won this round.

I sat down to a sweet old lady. I got comfortable. The tram started rolling. We started talking a little.

Then I look to my left…

Two good looking controllers controlling the people on my left.

Oh, hello there, I thought, isn’t it nice to see you. I smiled.

I guess I’m next.

The irony of the situation made me laugh. Moments ago I had this huge urge to buy a ticket. I didn’t. Now I get a control. And I was fully conscious of it. Oh and I’ve been doing this thought experiment about trams and controls. Now I get a control! This is so cool!

I paid 60€. I asked if I could take the tram for the rest of the day without paying. I deserved at least that much at such a price.
He gave me that. My 60€ ticket would be valid till midnight.

I got off at the next stop.

I was ecstatic ! I’ve ever been this happy paying 60€ in my life ! And on a tram too ! Does this Law of Mirroring stuff actually work ? I couldn’t believe what had just happened ! For the past week I’ve been playing around with this idea more seriously since my brakes broke. This is amazing !

Calm down, calm down… Maybe it’s just random chance. A coincidence…
But dang this is so cool ! You have to admit it !
Ok yeah it’s pretty cool. You do realise you’re happy about paying money you could have avoided, right?
Yeah but this is too incredible. What if this stuff really works?

This went on in my head like this for the next thirty minutes; me thinking of how amazing this was. That was the best 60€ I’ve spent in a while. What a great way to kick off the month of June!

I went about the rest of my day wondering if the Law of Mirroring works or not. At least I’m open to the possibility.

My trip was coming to a close.

The next morning me and my friend met up. We took the bus back home.

I still couldn’t believe the experience I had the previous day.

And guess what happened on the way back to Germany?

We got three controls ! Once by the French, once by the Swiss, once by the Germans.

Now I was really mind blown! This seemed a little too freaky to be pure coincidence. Something had to be going on. I was looking at the border control guards like they might be hiding some secret to the universe.

We got back in Freiburg.

The next day I took the tram. I still didn’t take a ticket. I figured I had one day left before getting my bike. So I could allow myself to do this. I know, I know, trust me, I’m really good at rationalising stuff.
And now we are back where we started. I was fearing getting a ticket. But this fear was new. I’d never felt this way before. Especially on a tram. I got curious. Then I wondered why I was so afraid of paying just 50€. After all, the fear I was experiencing was totally disproportional to the possible consequence. What was I actually afraid of? Paying money? Being seen as a bad person? It was weird.

Just being aware of my fear and questioning it made it dissipate. My angelic side decided that from now on it’s probably best to simply pay the ticket out of respect for the value of the transportation service provided by the city. But I’m not promising anything. My little red devil might just persuade me not to.

Today, this experience still seems surreal. The fact that I was aware of my thoughts during the whole thing was so cool. More and more I’m getting convinced that the Law of Mirroring really works. Too much weird stuff has been happening lately for it to be random. As for me riding trams as an outlaw, I guess I can’t promise that I’ll stay good. Sometimes it’s too much fun.



Adrien Jamai

Medical Student. Interested in Medicine, Health, Ayruveda and Life. Classical Isha Hatha Yoga Practitionner,