A 77-year-old veteran has been fired from his tollbooth job in Florida after his bosses learned that he paid a driver’s $5 toll out of his pocket.
Following the incident, Vladislav “Sam” Samsonov of Boca Grande, Florida, was offered by the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority to accept a reduced role, which would scale back his days from five to two. He declined the offer and was terminated from his position.
Samsonov had been working at the Boca Grande Causeway for the past 29 years and that was not the first time he had paid with his own money the toll of a driver who didn’t have enough cash or if there had been an error. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Vladislav “Sam” Samsonov, 77, was fired from his job at the Boca Grande Causeway in Florida after 29 years.
During the incident which got him fired, Samsonov erroneously undercharged a driver and made up the difference himself, despite being warned in the past against using his own money, according to NBC 2. Samsonov said:
I’d put the six dollars in, I got the six dollars back the next day.
In my eyes there was no crime committed, I just helped somebody out.
Samsonov’s dismissal quickly generated backlash on social media.
2. Samsonov paid a $5 toll from his own pocket and was terminated by the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority.
Drivers who remembered Samsonov giving their dogs bones or their children lollipops spoke out on his behalf and he received a number of nice Facebook comments.
Samsonov appreciated the support, but his family spoke out against Facebook users who were making threats or using abusive language against his former employer. Samsonov said:
Makes me feel good, makes me want to cry. But bite your tongue and you’ll be OK.
3. The authority asked Samsonov to scale back his days to two instead of five but he declined their offer.
Meanwhile, Marcy Shortuse, the editor of the Boca Beacon, wrote a tribute to the “Gasparilla Island fixture” in a special Editor’s Note. She 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.
It’s people like you that we took for granted would always be there in the booth on weekday mornings.
We will adjust, we will adapt, but we will never forget you, Sam. Thank you for your service to our community. You’re a good guy.
4. People spoke out on Samsonov’s behalf and a friend printed out the nice Facebook comments he had received.
Now that he is unemployed, Samsonov intends to do volunteer work and says he might not accept his job back if it were offered to him.
His family is looking to determine whether any laws were broken, in which case they would be pursuing legal action.
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority has offered no comment on the matter.
5. A beloved toll collector is fired for paying a driver’s toll — an NBC2 News report.
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