A 77-year-old old Southwest Florida toll booth operator for nearly 30 years said he was fired from his job after doing what he felt was the right thing to do—paying someone else’s toll.
Vladislav Samsonov, a military veteran, would pay the tolls of drivers who did not have enough cash from time to time, NBC affiliate WBBH reported.
However, when he paid the toll of a trailer driver who he mistakenly undercharged earlier this month, he was terminated from his job, he said.
Samsonov's daughter wrote on Facebook that he put $5.50 in the register from his pocket after realizing his mistake.
He has loaned money to people in the past and been asked not to pay for others before, but was never formally written up, Samsonov said.
"I'd put the six dollars in, I got the six dollars back the next day," Samsonov told WBBH.
For punishment, Samsonov says he was offered two days a week instead of his five day schedule, but declined the offer then was let go.
"If I can't be trusted for five days, how can I be trusted for two days?" Samsonov told WBBH.
Samsonov said that the job was not about the money; it was about the people.
He said he's seen generations grow up during his 29 years on the job, and an outpouring of support has been generated following his termination. The support and comments have been heartfelt, and Samsonov said he will now seek volunteer work.
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority declined to comment to WBBH on the matter.
Friends and family of Samsonov say they are exploring possible legal action to see if any Florida laws were violated.