Oops! My Open Apology To The Maine Turnpike Authority
On Sunday, our radio stations went to the Miles For Mills 5K. That's the big fundraiser for the Travis Mills Foundation, an organization that does so much good for recalibrated veterans. We always jump at the chance do what we can to help worthwhile causes.
After the event, which was held at Brunswick Landing (the old Brunswick Naval Air Station), we packed up our equipment and headed back to Augusta.
My side hustle as a bar / club / event DJ has got me traveling all over Northern New England. A lot of that time is spent on the interstate. Because of this, we have an EZ Pass in my vehicle, so I am accustomed to just rolling through the EZ Pass lane where you don't stop.
Even though we have EZ Pass transponders for the company vehicles, I did not have the one for the vehicle I was driving with me. I caught it on the way down and made sure I stopped in a cash lane. On the way back, I was talking to my passenger and got in the speedy lane I normally take at tollbooths.
By the time I realized what I had done, it was too late. It's not like I could slam on the breaks and throw the vehicle in reverse - although that would have tested my driving skills and attracted a lot of attention.
As dumb as it sounds, I had a mild panic attack. My heart started racing and I felt dizzy. Then, I took a few deep breaths and tried to tell myself it probably was not a big deal.
One of the reasons I was concerned was because of an incident we had a few years ago. I knew someone who had failed to pay a toll. When they caught up with him, the bill was about 20 times what it would have been if he had paid the toll. Instead of $2.50, it was about $50!
Assuming the office was going to be closed for the holiday, I waited until Tuesday morning to call. I told the clerk who answered about my screwup. She explained to me that they always take a pic of the plate of vehicles that go through EZ Pass. Just in case someone tries to scam them or there is a problem with a transponder. So, they would look at the plate number and compare it to EZ Pass accounts. As long as there was an account associated with that plate number, we were good.
I guess I already knew that, but it never occurred to me that it was for any reason other than to stop people who were blowing through tollbooths without pay.
I wished I had gotten the name of the woman I spoke to. She was very nice and extremely helpful.