Vladislav “Sam” Samsonov was a beloved toll collector who had been employed at the Boca Grande Causeway toll for nearly 30 years. But, unfortunately, the 77-year-old veteran won’t be working the toll any longer but his departure has nothing to do with retirement. It has been reported that he’s been fired. Now, the story behind his termination has gone viral.
According to 11-Alive, Samsonov actually did a kind deed for a trailer driver. When he realized his mistake of charging the driver an insufficient amount to cover the toll cost, he paid the additional $5.00 with his own money. He admitted that it’s something he has done before, but still doesn’t feel that he committed a crime because the deficit was paid. But apparently, the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority disagrees. Once the bridge authority learned what Sam had done, he was demoted to working only two days a week instead of five.
“If I can’t be trusted for five days, how can I be trusted for two days?” Samsonov argued. When he declined the demotion, he was terminated by bridge authorities. Samsonov’s termination has sparked outrage among local citizen and his disheartening story has caught the attention of local news outlets.
During a recent interview with NBC-2, Samsonov recounted the incident that led to his termination and how he personally feels about the situation.
“In my eyes there was no crime committed, I just helped somebody out. I’d put the six dollars in, I got the six dollars back the next day. After 29 years, you can’t help it. I gave children suckers 20 years ago. Now I’m giving those children suckers for their children. They were my family.”
An overwhelming number of local citizens who have interacted with Samsonov over the years have also voiced their opinion of the bridge authority’s decision to fire Samsonov.
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority have declined to comment about Samsonov’s termination, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters. Although locals are fighting for him to be reinstated, he’s admitted that he’s unsure if he even wants his job back at this point. He’s currently seeking volunteer work instead.
Do you think Samsonov should have been terminated? Share your thoughts.
[Image via YouTube Screen Capture]