Pay the Toll for the Car Behind Me



The other day, I sent someone close to me a Snapchat of myself lounging at a local beach resort, reading the memoir The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost, while sipping on an iced caramel late from Dunkin, only to receive a text from him minutes later that read “Get a job hippie.”


After laughing and sending back, “Jobs are for snobs,” his text brought me to another realization: I am so lucky to be outside, enjoying this beautiful day and semi-fall weather. I am so grateful for all the incredible people and fun adventures I have spent this summer with/pursuing.


And although I just finished my internship and will be working — but I can’t really consider them work, as I’m really looking forward to both jobs — two jobs this school year, it was this mixture of feeling like a bum, feeling grateful, and just loving the weather that pushed me to consider what other items I could cross off my “Kind Acts and Volunteering” bucket list on the way home.

I thought of the one item I had written, “Pay the toll for the car behind me,” and wondered how that one would work, now that my family finally emerged from the dinosaur age, after some prodding from friends and relatives, and purchased E-ZPass. I figured I’d just head toward Cash Receipts and pay the toll with cash, along with the car behind me.


As I approached the toll, I began rapidly searching through my bag. I had been substituting my debit card for cash this entire week — I know, I know, not always a smart solution — and hoped I had enough for myself and the car behind me. The toll was $1.50 and I smiled when I found just three singles in my bag. Perfect.

When I drove up to the toll, the toll collector informed me my E-ZPass had gone off. Cool, I thought. I had no idea that would happen. I told him I’d just pay cash for me and the car behind me, but he said with E-ZPass I wouldn’t have to pay for myself and put the $1.50 toward the man behind me. I smiled as I watched the man try to pay, then put his money back, but I drove away quickly before he might drive up next to me and thank me. Even if $1.50 isn’t much, it made the sunny drive home that much better.


So has anyone done something similar or want to add this one to his or her bucket list? I’d love to hear from you!

Oh! And just a reminder there’s only three days left to enter the August Giveaway, so check it out if you want to enter to win fun prizes!

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72 Responses to Pay the Toll for the Car Behind Me

  1. Patrick Day says:

    Christine, I really like your paying for coffee and tolls. I have done the coffee gig before, but not nearly as often as I could. Here’s one for your list, if you are so inclined. Sometimes in a restaurant, I tell the waitress or waiter that the person I am with and I will be praying before we start our meal and ask if she/he has a prayer request that we can honor. I have had no negative responses and some which are apathetic at best. But, Oh, the times when someone is carrying the world on her shoulders or desperately needs some help in life, the gratitude for prayer is overwhelming, with sometimes tears flowing. It makes my day. Pat

  2. rachelmasterson76 says:

    A similar experience was when my husband was paying for his snacks and gas at the gas station, he gave the cashier extra cash and said to use that towards whomever was in the line behind him 🙂

  3. 4mygodsglory says:

    It’s always nice to do random acts of kindness…whether paying for someone behind me at the drive-thru, at a toll booth, or grabbing an extra order of food to give to the homeless person outside a restaurant. God has blessed me, and it is always my pleasure to bless others with kindness that goes beyond my human selfishness to reveal the light of Christ! God bless and may all your endeavors be wonderful and fill you with joy! 🙂

  4. katyhancock says:

    I’ve done that before, but unfortunately, the Bay Bridge (the only toll that I frequent) just upped its price to $6 which is quite the sum for a poor college kid…Glad you’ve enjoyed your summer and keep spreading the light!

  5. ramblingjess says:

    I love that you paid for the car behind you’s toll, that’s such a nice gesture that will make the day of that person and certainly brighten their day. I have not done that before, but am definitely putting it on my bucket list!! Your post is very inspirational!

  6. Arunprakash says:

    Really great initiative ! sometimes even small things can bring a warm smile from others ! Enjoy your Summer 🙂

  7. shiaria says:

    I cycle everywhere so there are no tolls, but I do drink coffee so will try that someday soon. Spreading happiness. I like that !

  8. mvschulze says:

    We had done that occasionally (Pay for the car behind) but back then it was a quarter on the GSP, in NJ. That said, we often took the back roads to the shore just to avoid the tolls! M

    • Haha, oh my gosh I know, it’s so expensive now! My uncle from PA calls NJ the “toll state,” which I think is pretty accurate lol. And it is smart to take the back roads to avoid tolls!

  9. Random acts of kindness. The thought of that really cheered up my days and lifted my hopes. Have a good day! Great write up!

  10. I love the way you think. I’ve had that happen to me one time, decades ago, before30 EZ Pass. Someone ahead of me paid my toll. I don’t think I knew them. I don’t know if I knew them because I never had the chance to see a face. I was flabbergasted. People just don’t normally do stuff like that. And it made my day. To prove it, I’m still remembering it, and its probably been 30 years! Keep up the good work. You ROCK! Peace, Jo

  11. btg5885 says:

    Nice work. My story was from high school and we were returning from a baseball game and came to the toll booth. We realized that none of us in the car had money to pay the toll and spotted some fellow teammates in the car behind us. My navigator hopped out and went to ask them for a loan. They didn’t have toll money either and were going to follow us through the gate (yes that is illegal). So, we had to get an IOU for the amount due. I wish you were in front of us. It would solved our problem. Thanks for truly paying it forward.

  12. This act, even if it is small, is really thoughtful of you — your story inspires me to do something similar.

  13. Literally Pay it forward, nice

  14. aprillynette says:

    Never done it, and we don’t have toll roads around here, but I think its a great idea!

  15. ohmygoodness i love this. the pictures of you on the car is priceless.

  16. Yui says:

    I really need to start writing all these kindness ideas down! Seems like there are opportunities absolutely everywhere. I can’t imagine how joyous it would be to be on the receiving end of one! 🙂

  17. salpal1 says:

    I used to do this a lot before EZ Pass, and have not done it since, but now you have shown the way (why I did not think of it sooner, I do not know!) I will get back to it. My best story of this is one time I gave my young cousin a ride home to Maine from school in CT. We got to the NH toll, which in those days was a dollar. She was driving, so I gave her two dollars to pay the toll, and told her the plan.. She was amazed, thought it was cool, and then was so busy watching the car behind work its way forward to thank us that she totally missed that we needed to be in the right lane to go to Maine. So, we had a brief detour at the Portsmouth Circle to get ourselves sorted out, and I don’t think she will ever forget it. I don’t know if she has done it since then, but I think I will ask her next time I see her.:-) My saddest story of it is one time the car did catch up to me, and the driver gave me the finger before speeding off. I wonder why?

  18. I just found my way here, after looking at my blog stats. 😉

    Hey, EZ Pass–I’ve applied for one of those! We’re practically neighbors…LOL…

    If you see someone with a Michigan plate looking lost, it’s probably me…

  19. kukolina says:

    I know it is not the point: to save money. But the same thing happened to you are the drive through: you had to pay very little. Remember?
    Anyways, it is awesome what you are doing!
    There is also another reason I dropped by. I was reading the post of a blogger who was really sad about not having enough followers. Since I only started blogging a month ago all I could think of: well, this takes time. But I checked and she has been blogging for quite a while… I though I would ask you openly. Can you sum it up for us not so popular bloggers? 😛
    How does one get hundreds of followers?

    • Yes, that’s very true! As a poor college student, some of my acts aren’t too extravagant, lol 🙂 And aww, well I really enjoy your blog! But I find that what helps me is just commenting on, liking, or following a lot of blogs that seem to have similar interests to mine, or at least that I find interesting. I find that many of them will be happy to follow back! I read another helpful tip somewhere which is that bloggers should write posts that are “sharable,” in other words, that a lot of people can relate to; many people enjoy reading lists, so I’ve found my posts that include lists are often reblogged the most. For instance, someone could write about “The top ten places to go for Spring Break,” in your opinion, and people might share it. I hope this helps a little!

      • kukolina says:

        Oh Christine! You are an angel! Now I just have to find the person who was worried about her blog’s popularity and pass on to her what you just replied.
        It is super helpful for me as well…
        Thank you very much!

      • Aww thanks so much 🙂 Lol, that compliment made my day! But I’m glad I could help out a little!

  20. ula77 says:

    that is such a cool thing to do! The person behind you must’ve felt really grateful 🙂 I should definitely start a bucket list similar to yours and add some of your ideas, they’re really great!!

  21. You are just a breath of fresh air 🙂 Your enthusiasm is refreshing as well as inspiring! And a new book recommendation of the Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost is a wonderful bonus.

  22. Alexandria says:

    I love your blog! It gets me excited for the adventure the husband & I are taking off for. Thanks so much for the follow.
    xoxox – the Wigwam Wife –

  23. belsbror says:

    Hi! I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Please get the badge at and get more info. Have a great Sunday. 🙂

  24. whenexactly says:

    Someone recently did that for me. A simple act but a big one.

  25. mdog32 says:

    What a nice thing to do. I wish more people would do more nice things like this. Also, thank you for the book recommendation. I just added the good girl’s guide to getting lost to my goodread’s list. Thanks! ~Gina

  26. Pingback: Bloggin’ Recap | The Day Dreaming, Candy Eating, Red Headed Bookworm

  27. I actually had someone pay my toll for me when I was crossing the Oakland Bay bridge over 20 years ago. I was really surprised and it made my day! I love what you’re doing here and the energy you are putting into doing some good for the world. Kudos to you for inspiring others to offer acts of kindness more often. Namaste.

  28. wishiknew22 says:

    LOVE your blog! Spreading positivity and that’s fantastic! I went shopping in SF the other day and put quarters in the parking meters that had only minutes left on them and my friends thought I was crazy! haha. Then my fiance said it might be illegal?!

  29. navswrites says:

    What a great idea. Have done a few of these like
    1. Paid for coffees for the next guy
    2. Paid for an extra toy when buying one for my son and left it at the counter – gift wrapped for the next child

    And then I was challenged by a friend to do a random act of kindness which didn’t involve money.
    Took me a while – I was out driving and could see a young couple were lost and frantically asking directions. I signalled for them to follow me and they followed me to their hotel – it was a 30 min drive one way and I left without talking to them. I had done an act that involved time not money

    What goes around comes around. After checking into a serviced apartment for a holiday in another country, found a new box of cereal and carton of milk with a note – Know you must be hungry!

    By the way, I am a new blogger, thanks for the tips you gave earlier.

    • Omg, I love all of these and #2 is adorable! That couple must have been thrilled 🙂 And it’s so nice to hear good karma came back your way with that carton of milk. You’re very welcome and welcome to blogging!

  30. rainydays101 says:

    love, love loving your blog! the stuff your doing is awesome! we need more people like you in this world. Ive nominated you for the shine on award! I think you may have already been nominated? but if not Thanks 🙂

  31. mapofjo says:

    Love love love these kinds of ‘pay it forward’ ‘do to others as you would do for you’ type volunteering!
    Having managed a gig where I oversaw many volunteers for a well known charitable organisation, I met people who volunteered for all reasons… Right and wrong. The wrong types would complain at the effort it took to do their bit for the minimal ‘feel good’ reward. I find that the small acts are the most substantial- as they are so insignificant, you can totally floor someone when they realise they have never contemplated doing it themselves. That’s usually when the domino effect takes hold.
    …. With risk of sounding like a cliche….’the world truly would be a better place if everyone jumped on board’

  32. So if you don’t have a job how do you fund all these amazing activities???!?!?

  33. Tricia says:

    Thanks for visiting our blog. It´s nice too see such a positive post.

  34. Pingback: Kind Acts Bucket List | Turquoise Compass

  35. Ashley G. says:

    I recently paid for someones food behind me in the drive through at Chik-Fil-A. The cashier seemed very surprised and asked, “What if its like $40?!?” I said, “Do it anyway!” She smiled and said, “Its $16.08 for theirs. Do you still want to pay for it?” i Said, “Absolutely :)” She smiled and said thank you. I too quickly drove off because I didn’t want the recognition. I did, however, see her try to pay then slowly pull her arm back inside the car. Hopefully, she passed it on to someone else 🙂

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