Florida toll collector fired for paying driver's fare: 'After 29 years, you can't help it'
Vladislav Samsonov (YouTube)

A Florida toll worker was fired after nearly 30 years on the job for paying a driver's fare.

Vladislav Samsonov said he charged a trailer driver too little one day last week and, realizing his mistake, paid the $5 owed from his own pocket, reported WBBH-TV.

The 77-year-old Samsonov said he had done that before to help drivers short on cash.

"After 29 years, you can't help it," he said. "I gave children suckers 20 years ago, now I'm giving those children suckers for their children."

The military veteran said he had been asked before not pay tolls for drivers, but he had never formally been reprimanded.

The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority cut his work hours from five days a week to just two as punishment, but Samsonov refused to work the reduced schedule and was fired.

Samsonov said he was simply correcting a mistake by paying the toll, and his friends and family are exploring a possible lawsuit over the termination.

Motorists reached out to Samsonov through social media to let him know how much he'll be missed.

"He would always give dog bones to the dogs and say hi to them, ask how our daughter was doing -- he was like extended family," said Blanche Vedette, a Boca Grande business owner.

Watch this video report posted online by NBC2 News: