Yesterday I met some friends at the Irvine Spectrum to see the movie Drive (which was incredible!). I was hoping we were going to choose some other theater, because I have this history of getting completely lost every time I go to the Spectrum—even though I've been there probably a dozen times. Yesterday, I thought I'd be fine, since I had Google Maps directions (the ones on my phone, not from the website). So off I went.
The directions told me to take the 5 South to the 133 South and exit at Barranca. I was running a little late, so I was watching the signs (and, yes, I should probably wear my glasses while driving), and saw the 133, and got off. As I was on the ramp, I saw the next sign on the 5 which read "133 S 1 mile". "Oh, crap," I thought, "I'm on the north." And I was. Which meant I was going to be even later than I thought. No big deal, though. I'll just get off on the first exit and turn around.
The next exit, if you get on the 133 N from the 5 S, is Irvine, and so I got off, and felt my heart fall into my boots: It was a toll road. A #@%&*ing toll road!
No, I'm not so poor that I can't afford $1.25. However, I haven't carried cash regularly since 2003. And while we do keep some change in the white car, I was in the green car. I looked around quickly and found nothing. My first thought was to call my friend, who was nearby, to see if he could get some cash and then get to the exit behind me. As I was on the phone with him, though, another car rolled up behind me, and bad turned to nightmare real quick.
I got off the phone with Jon and saw the driver's side window of the car behind me was open, so I went up intending to explain the situation and say that if I could just get a few minutes to thoroughly search my car (it's kind of messy; you never know), I'd go ahead and blow through the toll booth and get my ticket (by the way: the violation incurs a penalty of $57.50 plus the original toll—not outrageously expensive, but supremely awful when you were intending to incur no other cost but the cost of gas).
I told the driver of the car behind me that I'd accidentally gotten on the 133 N while intending to get on the 133 S, and he said, "Join the club" (it's really an easy mistake to make at night, and Irvine is your first opportunity to get off the stupid toll road). Anyway, now I get to the point of my story: Without my asking, he offered me the $1.25 I needed to pay the toll (he wasn't unprepared).
Needless to say, that made my day (I'm probably too long-winded to put it up on IMMD, but it would fit). But here's where I want to make use of the internet: I want to find this person. At the very, very least, I'd like to pay him back his $1.25 and thank him profusely for saving my bacon.
The relevant information is as follows:
- What: Paid my toll of $1.25, saving me from a fine of $58.75.
- Where: Irvine toll plaza off of the 133 N, just north of the 5 S/133 N interchange.
- When: I didn't check, but it was probably somewhere between 10:19-10:26 p.m. on September 30th, 2011.
- Who: I didn't get his name (I was trying to get out of there because we both had places to go, otherwise I could've settled this very easily), but he looked like a tall guy (though everyone's tall to me) with kind of a buzz cut, blonde hair. He looked younger than me (23-28, guessing...?), had a girl in the car with him in the passenger seat (didn't get a good look), and was driving a very large SUV-ish car that may have been gray (unfortunately, it was quite dark).
And I look mostly like this. I was wearing a copper-colored t-shirt with blue jeans and sandals.
So, mighty internet (especially Southern Californios), share this around! Let's see if I can find this guy.
Also, though, I'd like to share some information I found out just today which should be very useful to anyone who finds themselves in the same situation as me: If you are on any of the SoCal toll roads, you can pay your toll late if you don't have the cash on you. You can do this one time, and I'm guessing you have to do it pretty quick after your violation. Nevertheless, if I'd known that, I wouldn't even have hesitated: I would've gone through.
Given the fact that it seems like these stupid toll roads are out to trick unwary travelers (and, honestly, who doesn't accept credit cards nowadays?!), I think it's rather good of them to give you this option. For more information on this option, go here. Sounds like you just need info about the car you were driving, yourself, and the location of the toll booth, and you can pay your toll online late and avoid the $57.50 fine. Wish I'd known it yesterday, but I know it.
All right, that's it. You may continue your regular day of internet surfing and listening to the NONONONO Cat.