When it was my turn in the book return line at the Kips Bay library branch, I told the librarian on duty that I was very sorry the book was so late, and explained that I had been so certain I had returned it on time that I had just ignored the overdue reminder in the mail.
The librarian responded, “In 30 years in this library I’ve never heard anyone apologize before!”
A woman behind me, waiting to return her books, interjected, “Well, she’s still going to make you pay your fine.”
The librarian glared at the woman and said: “No, she’s not. Sir, thank you for returning the book. There’s no charge for that.”
As I left the counter I heard the woman saying, “I’m very sorry, but I have some overdue books here.” Daniel Burke, The New York Times, May 5, 2008