One of a Kind

Toll Collector Fired for Being a Friend


Toll collectors typically blend in. They reach out their hand, accept drivers' payment and continue the routine until they clock out. Sometimes, though, there are individuals that defy the stereotypes and consistently brighten the lives of the people they interact with. 

Vladislav "Sam" Samsonov was one of those people and his friendliness wound up costing him his job- the one he held for 30 years.

Check out this news story from the folks at NBC2 News in Fort Myers, Florida. It has over 400K views and has been featured in publications like People Magazine, Huffington Post and USA Today.

The town's newspaper, The Boca Beacon, published a thank you to Sam for his years of service, free dog treats, and lollipops. It calls him a familiar face, a "Gasparilla Island fixture" that was taken for granted and the perfect representation of the people you can find in Boca Grande.

According to Sam's daughter, he has no immediate interest in fighting for his job. Instead he will enjoy his retirement and pick up hours at the local hospital, volunteering to keep busy. His family, however, is considering legal action.

To keep up with Sam click here.

It's important to be passionate about your line of work. Learn about the passion that fuels Junkyard Empire and Demascus Motors below.

13-Year-Old's Idea Could Save Hundreds of Lives



Sometimes people need an app to tell them they're being a less-than-perfect parent or guardian. Zane Pasha, a 13-year-old student from Las Vegas, developed a concept that could eradicate the alarming statistics surrounding hot cars and abandoned children. The idea recently earned Pasha the Nevada State Merit honor in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. 

Pasha's HeatSafe mobile app would link to a wireless thermometer that would remain in the car and would send alerts to the owner's cellphone when temperatures hit a concerning number. Heatstroke sets in at 104 degrees -- a temperature achieved rather quickly by cars exposed to heat and humidity. According to studies, an average of 38 children die each year from being left in cars heated by the strong summer sun.

This year, the issue has been hot topic in the media. Just yesterday, another child was found dead in a hot car. This time in Dallas, Texas. A week ago, an 11-month-old passed away after an being left in a car for an hour in Florida while the parents were reportedly putting away groceries.

"€œI looked it up and no one really made something to alert parents about temperature rising in their car,"€ Pasha said to members of the press. "€œI realized this would be a good time to make it because of global warming; everything is getting hotter too. So there are going to be more deaths in cars if someone doesn‘€™t stop the problem."€

Pasha also credits his inspiration to his mother, Dr. Shazia Kirmani-Pasha, who is a pediatrician. 

"HeatSafe is a very tangible tool that uses current technology to solve a burning problem, especially in our desert environment. As a pediatrician I spend hours counseling parents on safety and prevention of injuries and mortality,"€ she told the press. "€œZane‘€™s concept of a device attached to a car seat, diaper bag, child‘€™s clothing, animal‘€™s collar etc., which can send a message to a mobile device warning of a sudden temperature escalation, can save lives."€

To check out the complete list of finalists and other inventions by teens competing in the challenge click here.

Need a cool down? Watch when the Junkyard Empire crew turned a PT Cruiser into an Ice Cream Truck perfect for the summer. 

Why 38?


Editor's Note: Contributor Ken Visser is an Automotive Photographer and Concours Judge, as well as a Computer Tech at Discovery Communications. He's an enthusiast of generally anything that moves and is excited to share his work with Velocity fans. Reach out to him about his incredible photographs at 

Flip flops, I hate flip flops.  Now let me tell you why.  The other day I'm stopped at a light by the Damascus High School minding my own business.  I just happen to glance at my rear view mirror and I get a glimpse of headlights.  

Lady behind me was wearing flip flops.  They get tangled up in the pedals and she hits the gas.  No braking involved, so she hits me square on the bumper, which translates the energy through me into the trailer hitch attached to the Explorer in front of me.  

Needless to say, my car takes the double whammy and off to the Damascus Motors autobody for repair we go. With that, I get a rental-- a Dodge Charger.  I look like a cop in this thing!  After driving it for a few days, I took notice that the volume highest setting is 38.  

Thirty-eight?  What corporate group think study group came up with that number?  

Car 38 sm lr

So 38. Not 11 for you Spinal Tap folks.  Or 42 for you Hitch Hikers Guide the To The Universe fans. But 38.  I would have loved to listen to that bureaucratic debate.  "Well our survey shows that our male demographic is looking for something more impressive.  I say 57."  "Well Biff, too much in my mind.  I think a gentler scale 0 to 10."  "William the third, the boys at Ford have higher numbers on their cars.  We're talking 0 to 77."  "We must not lose the MVN (Maximum Volume Number) race.  Let's have another 3 studies"

Let's see what the MVN is in your car.  Looking forward to documenting what other manufacturers are doing out there.Now for your further entertainment, since we are looking at radios, let's look at what holds them, the dashboard.  Here are a couple I picked from my archives.

Continue reading >

Google's New Patent Draws Attention


2014. day, another headline about Google taking steps to revolutionize the driving experience. New information about the future of driving came forward yesterday as Google's latest patent application was published. 

The patent, which was filed in May 2014, describes a system in which vehicles can be operated by handheld devices. According to the application, the portable computing device will execute software that enables individuals within the vehicle to perform control actions that "would otherwise take a flip of a switch, turning of a knob, or pressing of a pedal". These tasks include everything from activating the car's interior lights and readjusting the radio to steering and applying the brakes.

Some capabilities will be location specific, however. For example, you may be able to drive your car only if the device is "located in the area of the driver seat". The application also lists that control of the entertainment system would be accessible only when the device is being used by the driver or co-pilot.

Listed as examples of handheld devices include a cell phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a portable gaming device. Some form of wireless connection will be necessary to link the device to the vehicle.

While the technology is one of many advances Google is making in the automobile space, the system may have other benefits. According to the 2010 US Census, one in five people have a disability. The Census found that nearly 30.6 million people were listed as having difficulty walking or climbing stairs, or used a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker. Another 19.9 million had difficulty lifting and grasping. Perhaps this will make those with physical ailments more independent by allowing them to operate a vehicle successfully through touch-screen technology.

Read the complete US Patent application here. For more information about Google's Self-Driving Project click here.

Are you intrigued by new technology in the auto-world? This video is for you!

Quad Backflipping into History


This may be the coolest thing done on two wheels in years. New Zealand BMX rider Jed Mildon recently became the very first BMX rider to complete a quad backflip. The 29-year-old adrenaline junkie is a member of Nitro Circus, a "crew full of action sports enthusiasts in search of the biggest, baddest, and craziest stunts" according to the group's YouTube page.

Photo: NitroCircus

After nine months of working on the rotation technique and landing on a giant airbag, Mildon took to a 21 foot ramp and let it fly. Million is no stranger to taking things to the next level- he was the first to land the triple flip in 2011- but this jaw-dropping trick surpasses that on every level. Check out the video of the incredible feat (and a few gruesome attempts) below. 

To read the complete interview with Mildon click here.

Want more crazy things you can do on a set of wheels? Well, how about turning four of them into an unconventional ice cream truck... 

Visit daily for posts about the shows and spirit of Velocity, an upscale male lifestyle network, featuring the best of the automotive, sports, adventure and travel genres.





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