Sometimes, in fact most times, I hate to admit I was born and raised in the State of New Jersey.  Today I was reminded why.  I was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, on my way to Manhattan, and I went to pay a toll.  The toll collector was so mean.  I mean he didn't say anything at all.  It's so typical, by the way.  Rude toll collectors are part of the New Jersey experience.  

Today of all days, you would think that they might be nice.  I mean it's Christmas Day and what crime did I commit?  Oh I know I was driving and pulled up to pay the toll.  Yep, that's it.  Oh and I'm white, blonde, and well I was in a rental car, which happens to be a really nice black Camaro.  So many reasons to hate me right there.  Yet, the thing is it likely wasn't personal.  I say this because most people I talk to, men and women, black and white, have had similar experiences.  The toll collectors are mean, rude, and down right cruel.

Why?  What gives them the right to be so mean?  I sure hope that they decide to be nice to the people who come to the State of New Jersey when the Superbowl is here.  I'm ashamed to say I am from a state where people are so rude.  It's truly a shame, and I wish the governor would have undercover people drive through the tolls, and fire people right on the spot for being so cruel.  It's a horrible way to be, especially on Christmas Day.

It's not even that they don't greet you, but it's the way they grunt, and look down on you.  It's as though you can feel the hatred permeate from the toll booth.  I find myself going out of my way thanking them.  Even then they don't speak.  Today I ended up saying 'Thank you' several times, thinking that I get some sort of response.  Nothing.  The man who collected my money, looked at me with disgust, said nothing, and I just cringed at the thought of going to the next toll.  

The next toll, outside the Lincoln Tunnel, was another abysmal experience.  This time, a woman collected my money.  She was just as miserable.  As I drove in to New York City, I had to tell myself, not to take it personally, and not to let their horrific treatment cause me to become saddened on Christmas Day.

Luckily, on my way home, I had a different experience.  This time, the toll collector asked me if I had a quarter.  I searched and found one, and gave it to him.  I think I thanked him more than once for being nice to me.  He smiled and said, "Thank you and Merry Christmas." It's amazing how much difference kindness can do.  It takes a moment to be kind.  Sadly most of the experiences I have had going through tolls in New Jersey are horrific.  It really is a shame.  I'm grateful to the man who was nice to me, and just wonder why he's the exception not the rule.