Wednesday, May 07, 2008
What makes a young guy homeless? Why do they stand on street medians holding signs asking for money? I see it a lot more often. These are not teenagers or runaway kids, maybe they were a few years ago. These are guys, (I have not seen a mid-20's woman on a side street holding a sign) who seem at first sight well capable of lifting something or able to do something to make a few bucks so they can eat.
Then there's the other way of making a living, by defrauding a business, which can land them in jail for a couple of days.
A couple of weeks ago, this strange looking guy came into one of our restaurants. I was walking by his table when he motioned me over to tell me how great the food was and much he liked it. I didn't make much of it until the server came to Tell me that the guy had skipped on the check. He had told her to order a cocktail and he'd be "right back" because he was going to the bathroom. Usually that is a sign for most servers that he intends to not pay. which is what happened then.
Lo and behold, same guy walks into another one of our restaurants. I was also walking by his table and he looked familiar. As I approach his table he tels me that, "The steak is so wonderful, he'd like to buy the chef a shot". All kinds of bell rang in my head at this comment. I quickly approached the server, whom at the time had already deduced that the guy had no money.
I called our security and they showed up quickly after I told them of the situation. In the meantime our "friend" continued to eat, have dessert, pretend to go to the bathroom a few times, I am quite sure while planning his escape which at this time was futile because all staff was on to him as well as a couple of security guards conspicuously posted outside.
It took him about 45 minutes before he realized he had no way out. When he was presented the check and asked for the table since, "We needed it for another large party", he replied that he was just "waiting for some Friend coming from the pool," even though the pool closed about an hour earlier. It wasn't long enough before he asked to speak to a a manager. I gladly accepted his request.
Once I was with him, all he said was, "You can call security, I have no money and I am homeless".
I asked him to walk with me outside where security was waiting for him. He was taken to the security office where he was later picked up by The Metro Police. Not before I was required to officially do a "Citizen's arrest" for defrauding an in-keeper.
In other times, or other country, He would have been beaten up or put to wash floors, dishes or other kind of hard labor that would make someone think twice about trying to get a free meal out of a restaurant.