The day before High School started, a young man came in to Paizano’s and ordered a slice of pizza. He sat down, and looked rather sullen while he slowly ate his meal.
I pretended to wipe down a table next to him, just so I could strike up a conversation.
He admitted that he was nervous about starting school; he said that people generally picked on him, and that he was sure that would be the case with his new high school as well.
He had bleached blonde, crispy hair, and spoke with a seemingly-purposeful lisp. He wore flamboyant clothing and walked with a runway style that Tyra Banks would be proud of. He definitely was not a ranch kid.
We spoke for a while about bullies, and I invited him to come in after his first day at school; that I wanted to hear all about it.
He obliged, and came in the next afternoon. It wasn’t as bad as he had expected, he said. He had met some other kids that he got along with, and he was excited to go back the next day.
So for the past few weeks he’s been popping in to say hi, not buying anything, but just walking around the dining room and waving at me every so often from the parking lot.
Today, however, he was banned forever from entering our restaurant.
He stole tips out of the jar.
The jar is there, to the left of the photo. It says “Employee 401-K” on the label, and the tips are shared by all of the crew at the end of the day (divided amongst everyone based on how many hours they’ve worked).
So, lispy blonde boy came in this morning and spooked one of our front gals. When I arrived, she mentioned it and I blew it off, telling her that he was harmless.
Later in the afternoon, he came back and stood at the counter with a menu, then using it as a shield to block the view of the customers, he purposefully reached into the tip jar and shoved a wad of cash into his front pocket.
One of our customers watched it happen, and her husband (who is in law enforcement) confronted him. The kid bolted out the front door.
Now, of course, we’re all replaying every instance that he’s been in just hanging out, and realizing that those were the same days that tips were much lower than usual.
I’m pretty angry with this kid. It’s a small enough town that I’m sure I’ll see him again, yet, I could also go to the High School and confront him with one of the counselors.
It’s a few dollars, sure, but it really upset our staff who work very hard to earn their tips.
What to do….