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$2 bill mix-up on the Dulles Toll Road prompts change

Friday - 6/20/2014, 4:17pm  ET

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Kathy Shaughnessy was surprised when the attendant wouldn't accept the same bill she received a few hours earlier. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON - A Purcellville woman was flabbergasted when, after receiving a $2 bill as change on the Dulles Toll Road, the toll attendant on her way back wouldn't accept the same bill.

Kathy Shaughnessy didn't think twice when she was given a $2 bill as change on the Dulles Toll Road on her way to work in Alexandria. Driving back home, she pulled out the bill to hand to the toll attendant.

"At first she wouldn't even touch it. It was like I was handing her a tarantula or something. She backed away. She said, 'Oh no, I can't take it.' And I said, 'What you do you mean? It's U.S. currency," Shaughnessy says of the exchange.

The attendant told Shaughnessy they never should have taken the bill in the first place, but finally she accepted it, claiming she'd have to pay Shaughnessy's toll out of her own pocket.

"After I paid, the little light was still red. I stopped and said, 'It's not green.' And she said, 'It's okay, you can go.' The light didn't ring ... so I'm hoping it didn't take a picture and didn't think I didn't pay," she says.

It turns out there never should have been a problem. Toll attendants along the Dulles Toll Road accept all legal tender including $2 bills and 50-cent pieces.

"Obviously it was a mistake. The $2 bill should have been collected," says Chris Paolino with The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority which oversees the operation of the Dulles Toll Road.

Shaughnessy filed a complaint online which went right to the toll manager who flagged her case to ensure she didn't get a ticket, Paolino says.

"We're working to make sure situations like this don't happen again," Paolino says.

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