A Florida toll booth worker was fired after 30 years on the job for making a $5 mistake, in the eyes of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority. Vladislav “Sam” Samsonov accidentally charged a driver too little last week, and decided to pay the balance himself when the driver didn’t have the money.
He was fired shortly thereafter. “In my eyes there was no crime I committed, I was just helping somebody out.”
Samsonov said he’s done this before, when drivers come up short, and had only been warned about paying tolls, but never written up. After he paid the money this time around, he received it back the next day, and was told that his five-day-a-week job had been cut to two days. When he refused the punishment, he was let go. “If I can’t be trusted for five days, how can I be trusted for two?”
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority would not comment on the pink slip — because the company doesn’t speak on “personal matters,” reports Florida’s NBC 2.
For nearly three decades, Samsonov, a 77-year-old veteran, has built special connections with drivers. He even passes out candy to children, so naturally, everybody loves him. “After 29 years, you can’t help it. I gave children suckers 20 years ago. Now I’m giving these children suckers for their children.”
People are already rallying around Samsonov, to thank him for his work (and maybe get him his job back). One driver likened him to “extended family.”
Samsonov is pretty much chalking this one up as a loss, but his friends and family are looking into legal action.