Random acts of kindness are typically met with appreciation and respect. Not so for toll booth collector Vladislav Samsonov, who was fired from his job of nearly 30 years for showing kindness to his customers.
Regular travelers on the Gasparilla Island Bridge in Boca Grande, Florida, look forward to seeing the 77-year-old man, known to most simply as Sam, as they pass through the tollbooth. Much like a favorite server at an often-visited restaurant, Sam’s kindness has become a welcome bright spot to those who pass through his tollbooth.
Sam was reprimanded more than once for showing kindness to customers who were short on funds and could not pay the price. It’s not like he gave them a free ride — Sam paid the toll out of his own pocket. Though he was told by management not to do that anymore, Sam never thought he would be fired for showing care and kindness to his customers.
But that’s exactly what happened, reports AOL. Sam was fired over a small five dollar toll. In this instance, Sam realized he had not charged a trailer driver the full toll amount, and so he corrected his mistake with his own money. The act of kindness was caught on video, and he was subsequently fired, after refusing to take a drastic decrease in work hours. He does not regret his actions, however.
“In my eyes there was no crime committed, I just helped somebody out.”
A Facebook page has been created in support of Sam and the kindness he shares every day. So many people are outraged that he was fired for a simple act of kindness, and they are not afraid to rally to his support.
“Mr. Samsonov should not only be reinstated but given some kind of historic status. To give 30 years of your life and treat people with kindness only to be fired for going above and beyond.”
“This makes no sense at all. Whoever made this decision should be fired.”
“I drive tractor trailer and the tolls are extremely high costs! I thank u for ur kindness in a not so kind world lately!”
“Can’t believe they fired him for being honest & using his own money too!”
“Sam will be missed! One day we handed him 6 sand dollars and he cracked the biggest smile.”
According to Mashable, Sam’s daughter, Patricia, had quite a bit to say about the disgraceful way he was fired for kindness.
“After 30 years of collecting tolls and handing out dog treats and lollipops, Sam was terminated from GIBA today… Also know that he was not immediately fired, but was given the option to give two weeks notice and then he would get his vacation paid out after he worked the two weeks or to be reduced to two days a week. He is a proud man and let them know that if he could not be trusted to work full time, he did not understand why they would trust him to work two days a week. He then informed them he would not choose either option, which led to his termination.”
Patricia states that Sam is doing well and is taken care of financially, as he also retired from the military. He plans to continue his legacy of kindness, and wants to volunteer at the local hospital a few days a week, where his kindness will be needed and appreciated, rather than being a reason to be fired.
Do you think it was right for him to be fired for kindness?
[Image via Some Ecards]