77-year-old tollbooth collector is fired for paying driver's $5 toll

Tollbooth Collector Fired For Paying A Driver's Toll

After 29 years on the job, a Florida tollbooth collector is fired for paying someone's toll out of his own pocket.
Most people drive through tollbooths without much thought about the person collecting the fee, but to drivers passing through the Gasparilla Island Bridge in Boca Grande, Vladislov "Sam" Samsonov was a familiar face. The 77-year-old veteran would give dogs bones and offered children lollipops.

Samsonov's kindness may have actually caused him to lose his job.

Samsonov explained to WBBH that he charged a trailer driver $5 too little, and after realizing his mistake, he paid the difference himself. He would do this from time to time if a driver was short on cash. As punishment, the authority offered him two days of work per week instead of his usual five. When he declined, he was fired on the spot.

"In my eyes there was no crime committed, I just helped somebody out," Samsonov said.

Supporters created a Facebook page for Samsonov, and as news spreads of his termination, more and more people are sending him well-wishes.

In a note in the Boca Beacon, the editor wrote, "You represent part of what so many like about Boca Grande – a person can be gone for years, but once they cross that bridge they're back in the land of familiar faces. [...] We will adjust, we will adapt, but we will never forget you..."

Samsonov says he would like to focus his free time on doing volunteer work.

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