Thursday, June 28, 2012
It Takes a Toll
I was back in Atlanta today for a quick 2-day trip and once again had that (these days) unique opportunity to pay someone else's toll for them. I say unique because with EZ Pass and other electronic toll collection methods, it's rare that I'm ever giving cash or coins to a real person. As I went through the toll on Route 400 just north of Atlanta, I handed the cashier some extra money and told her that I was paying for the car behind me. By her unsurprised reaction, I suspect it's not unheard of that she gets this request.
As I pulled away, I watched in my rearview mirror to make sure that the next person wasn't asked to also pay the toll and it appeared that she was not. I also watched to see if the driver would catch up to me and give me any signal of recognition - a wave, a nod, a flash of the lights - anything to indicate appreciation. Like the last time I did this, there was none.
I've learned not to conclude much from this simple fact as there may be any number of explanations. For example, by the time the person realized what had happened, it was too late for them to notice/remember who was in front of them. Or perhaps they were getting off the road just past the exit. To be clear, I didn't do it in order to get any reaction. I did it for no other reason than to be kind. However, I was still curious, just as an observer of human behavior, to see if there would be any discernible reaction. I'm sure I'll do this one a few more times before the year is over and I'll keep recording what happens to see if there are any interesting conclusions to be drawn.