You probably thought it couldn’t get any sillier than me hopping out of my car on the way though toll booths on the way home from my sister’s house. But you’d be wrong.
The weekend after my infamous toll booth score (tolls paid = $1.25, money found = $1.26, net gain = $.01), I had to go out to Ashburn again for a surprise slumber/birthday party (yes, this is my life). There were 4 of us in the car on the way out there and of course, I asked if anyone would mind a small delay in the toll booth area as I perused the road for dropped change.
Being my friends, the girls agreed (although they clearly thought I was nuts). Turns out it was an even better score than before as I found almost $1.50 at one of the toll booths. Yahoo! I was pretty excited and couldn’t wait to share my find with the other slumber party attendees (although a good half of us were in this car!).
My friends are used to my particular brand of crazy by this point, so no one thought it was unusual that I’d had the driver follow behind me as I walked through the toll area in search of change. Well…at least it wasn’t unusual for me (which is kind of sad now that I think about it!).
We had a smashing time that evening which included several bottles of champagne, a game of 31-questions on how well we knew the birthday girl (who was turning 31…hence the 31 questions), and a midnight viewing of “Step It Up,” which may have been the highlight of the evening.
But the REAL highlight of the weekend came the next day when 3 of us headed back to the city…through two more toll booths!
As we approached the first one, I hopped out of the car and commenced searching as my friend eased up to the booth behind me. The attendant looked at me and shook his head but was clearly enjoying my little display of change-gathering. I told him not to worry…my friend had an EZ-pass and we were definitely paying the toll. I let him know the change would be going to charity. He didn’t seem to mind and was friendly about the whole exchange. Sweet…over 70 cents collect and one toll booth operator amused for the afternoon.
Off to toll booth stop #2.
At stop #2, the traffic was a little crazy in the lane we chose. The guy two cars ahead of us was having some issues. This didn’t bother me in the least as it just gave me more time for my search. I hopped out a few car lengths back from the toll collecting basket and started looking. When the big, red SUV between my friend & the guy slowing down traffic pulled forward…I was in change-finding heaven. There were quarters EVERYWHERE! It was a change bonanza!
I threw up the official sign for stop, just like I was one of the Supremes or something, and halted my friend as I proceeded to snatch up the quarters.
Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind me…”Ma’am! MA’AM!”
“Oh, don’t mind me,” I said. “I’m just picking up change for charity.”
The woman did not seem amused. “There’s cameras watching you!”
“Sweet!” I replied.
Apparently, this was not what she wanted to hear. “Ma’am…you can’t do that! There’s cameras.”
At this point I realized she was not at all like the amused toll booth operator from the first stop. She was more like an evil rule enforcer and was about to take down my friend’s plate #s to make sure we’d get a ticket. I jumped back in my friend’s car screaming, “Go! Go! Go!” as we headed out of the toll booth area.
I’m not sure she actually got the plate number (and there has been no ticket sent to my friend). But I am sure we had a major score at that stop…13 quarters plus other assorted change equalling $4.55. Talk about an exciting day for penny finders everywhere!
So that is my latest change finding excursion. It may or may not have resulted in a $50 ticket for breaking some kind of un-posted “don’t get out of your car in a toll-booth” rule…but at the end of the day, I think it was worth it. We laughed all the way home!
I realize my brand of crazy isn’t something everyone aspires to (although my sister apparently tried to stop in a toll area the next day when traffic was much heavier and called me in amazement over my ability to collect so much change via the toll roads!) but I encourage you to find your own brand of crazy. Something that only you might be willing to do…but you know you’ll have a great time doing it.
And if you find a penny along the way…be sure to let us know!