Some Tolls Go Unpaid

Hampton Roads, more or less, is a complete cesspit. I don’t mean to disparage the place, but in my entire adult life it’s just been a blight on the Commonwealth of Virginia. Don’t get me wrong, I have good friends who live in the area – but, they’ll say the same thing. Why? Why do you think? You walk down a lonely street in Portsmouth after dark and get back to me. Demographics, my friend. It’s myriad place of waterways, ports, bridges, tunnels, crime, mismanagement, shitty traffic, drunken sailors and dimwitted dindus. They call Newport News “bad news” for a reason. It’s also got terrible tolls.

When speaking of tolls, I don’t mean interracial violence à la “burn the coal, pay the toll,” although, that most assuredly happens. I’m referring to actual roadway tolls. For high agency normal folks, tolls are simply a nuisance that can be solved with some change or an E-ZPass. It’s not cumbersome or the end of the world. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that a certain demographic with a penchant for crime, perpetual victimhood and unnecessary drowning deaths can’t handle the toll system.

Take Takeisha Reynolds (no relation) for example. She owes (or owed, I’m sure some colored aide society covered her bill) more than – get this – $15,000 fucking dollars in tolls. How is this even real? I missed a toll and when I received the invoice in the mail, I promptly paid it. Per Miss Reynolds (she’s not married, trust me), she couldn’t afford the paltry sum because her job only paid $11,000 a year. Her specific unpaid toll fluctuates between $1.79 to $2.20 (this is over the Elizabeth River). We’re talking about Takeisha making hundreds of unpaid trips over the Elizabeth River seemingly without a care in the world or the cost. Go figure.

Not to be outdone, we’ve also got Tamaia Camp. A denizen of Norfolk, Virginia, (think the enrichment of Mos Eisley meets the climate of Dagobah) this strong, proud woman of color owes a whopping $18,396. That’s no small chunk of change, I’d assume there’s a pretty good reason Tamaia couldn’t afford her tolls. Per the Virginia-Pilot, “She said she was earning about $1,000 per month as a cafeteria worker at Douglass Park Elementary School before she quit in April because a fifth-grader punched her in the back while she was pregnant. She said she was already recovering from a back injury sustained at Wal-Mart, her previous employer.” Well, that makes sense. Considering all that, can’t say I blame her for reneging on her duties as a fiscally responsible citizen of Hampton Roads.

Regina Lucas, from Chesapeake, only owed $1,300. That would be very doable for us, but Regina didn’t realize not paying a toll in a timely manner would result in additional fees. Late fees, processing fees, etc. must have been a new concept for her. Per the do-gooders at WAVY TV 10 (covering the Hampton Roads area), Regina Lucas thought her E-ZPass would “automatically” replenish and she wasn’t paying attention. WAVY TV 10 contacted the toll organization and had the debt magically reduced to $245.90. That’s nice. I’m sure any of us would certainly receive the same assistance. But, we’re not done yet. Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter (CHKD), a hospital Regina was taking her son to, further reduced the cost of the tolls all the way down to just $25 bucks.

What a wonderful world of gross negligence. I mean, I don’t want to sound like a cruel bastard but life’s about consequences and responsibilities. For many of us (high functioning members of society), life’s a bitch; tolls must be paid, responsibilities met, children raised in two parent households, etc. For others, it’s just not that big of a deal and some altruistic and interfering wannabe philanthropist can sweep in and save the day.

We’re not that lucky. Especially, not in Weimerica or Hampton Roads.