Eric Upton

Live. Learn. Run.

Turnpike Trauma

Here is the tale of my “Turnpike Trauma”.

I was headed to Oklahoma City on a business trip. I loaded up my luggage, fired up the Chrysler 300 and started entering my destination address into my navigation system.

“Estimated Duration: 6 hours”


I made short work of Louisiana, cut through the backwoods of Eastern Texas and crossed the border into Oklahoma.

Merrily following the turn-by-turn instructions, things were going well.


First, a little background on me. You see, Eric has whole-heartedly sold out to the idea of a cashless society.

That being said, the ominous word “TURNPIKE” on the sign struck a nerve.

I started scrambling!

“Holy crap, I hope I have cash in this car somewhere!”

After about 10 miles of panic, I managed to raise $1.12.

I was short by 63 cents.

I was praying for mercy…

And I got it.

When I pulled up to the booth I put on my best “Please help me” face and explained my cash shortage concern.

The kind lady said, “Give me what you have, but be sure to stop at the next gas station and get some cash. There are two more booths you’ve got to pass through”.

I heeded her advice, thanked her and sighed.

Two days later, I am traveling the same road in reverse order, aptly covered in cash. I wasn’t going through that again!

As I hit the last tollbooth on the pike, I thought it would be nice to see that lady again and thank her.

The odds of that happening were good apparently. I slowly rolled up to the booth and there she was!

I gave her the money for the toll and the difference of the toll from a few days before.

She had forgotten about me completely until I quickly rehashed my nightmare to spark her memory.

She thanked me for making good on my debt.

“I have to make up the difference everyday out of my pocket, so it’s nice to get it back”, she said.

It would appear I’m not the only one that does this to a tollbooth agent in a day’s time.

I gave her another $5 and thanked her for kindness in hopes that she can continue to finance other fools like me.

Pay it forward people… Pay it forward.

Eric • 11/26/2012

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