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Monday May 4th, 2015 5:12AM

New rule bans Ga. toll booth charity

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) No more paying the toll for the motorist behind you on Georgia Highway 400.

A new rule from the State Road and Tollway Authority has ended a tradition stretching back two decades where some drivers will pay the 50-cent toll for the next motorist in a charitable gesture.

"In what sort of world do we live?" said Rick Sanderson, 58, who learned of the policy last week when a cashier would not allow him to pay for the next driver. "We can't even do a random act of kindness?"

The authority banned the charitable payments because some drivers had complained that cashiers were pocketing the extra change rather than using it pay for the next driver, Bert Brantley, the authority's deputy executive director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

At least six such complaints were received in the last few months. As a result, state officials ended the practice in a move meant to protect drivers and toll workers.

"When it's only one complaint every once in a while, it's not a big deal," Brantley said. "But we had repeat incidences of customers not believing that their pay-it-forward gesture was actually making it forward."

It is not clear that any money was actually stolen. Brantley said a driver might not see the extra 50 cents being thrown into the change basket for the next driver because the next motorist sometimes declines the money, allowing it to be passed onto another driver.

The toll collections are scheduled to end Nov. 21.

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