(PCM) Recently, a South Carolina man, Christopher Lewis, was federally charged a $525 fine over a $0.89 drink refill at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Thank goodness, it now appears that Lewis will be able to get off with only a warning over the incident.
Mostly likely based upon the national attention that the case is beginning to receive, the Medical Center has reviewed the case and determined that a warning instead of a fine would be sufficient in this particular situation.
Lewis, who works as an on-site construction worker at the hospital, was on his lunch break and was completely unaware that refills on his drink were not free. He was shocked when he was given a ticket by the Federal Police Force at the hospital to the tune of $525 after he went up and refilled his drink, failing to pay the $0.89 refill fee.
I truly can’t stop laughing at this, but a hospital spokesperson called the incident “theft of government property”. You would seriously think these individuals would have more to worry about than free refills in the cafeteria. The hospital went on to say that there are signs posted all around the cafeteria that say drink refills are not free, however Lewis claims that he has never noticed them and has refilled his drink in the past without issue.
To make matters worse, Lewis is now out of a job. Lewis claims that when he was approached by the officer who issued the initial citation, he attempted to pay for the refill right then and there, but was not allowed, therefore not having the option to make right what he had done wrong accidentally.
He was taken to a room, given the $525 citation for shoplifting and was told not to return to the property. Lewis asked about returning to the construction site to finish his job if he agreed to bring his own lunch and stay out of the cafeteria, however the officer wanted him off the premises completely.
The hospital claims that Lewis was aggressive during the confrontation. I don’t blame him! I know rules are rule and there to follow, but to cost someone their job even when they tried to make amends is just not right.
Lewis plans to contest the fine in federal court if it even makes it that far. Something tells me they are going to want to avoid the mess and just leave things with the warning.