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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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You Can't Pay It Forward At This Georgia Toll Plaza

Aug 16, 2013
Originally published on August 17, 2013 12:15 am

It'll just have to be the thought that counts. Georgia motorists going through toll booths on state Route 400 can no longer donate the 50-cent toll for the driver behind them.

A new directive orders toll plaza workers to return all the surplus change as motorists stop to pay. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that some drivers had complained that they believed toll booth operators were pocketing the change instead of tossing it into the toll basket so the next driver could pass through free of charge.

Bert Brantley, the deputy executive director of Georgia's State Road and Tollway Authority, told the newspaper that the policy change was for the protection of both drivers and toll workers. "When it's only one complaint every once in a while, it's not a big deal. But we had repeat incidences of customers not believing that their pay-it-forward gesture was actually making it forward," he said.

Brantley said the reason donating drivers couldn't see the coins dropping into the collection basket is that the car behind them often paid anyway, thus gifting the toll to the third person in line.

It's like the Heav'nly Donuts shop in Massachusetts where last month 55 drive-through customers paid for the person behind them, as Mark Memmot wrote. That chain of do-gooders broke only when there were no more cars left in line.

The random acts of kindness at the Ga. 400 toll plaza wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway. Gov. Nathan Deal announced that all tolls there will cease on Nov. 21. That's because the state will pay off its bond debt by the end of this year and the road's toll booths will be torn down.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.