I will be honest. I kind of forgot that this happened or well it didn’t cross my mind to write a story time blog about it…but when I wrote the Christmas blog and I briefly touched ground about horrible Christmas’s…this came to mind. This happened in 2014 so it’s been a long time since then but it’s an entertaining read. I figured why not write it?
I’ve never stolen in my entire life. Something I’m very proud of and intend to keep for the rest of my life. Although if I’m 100% honest when I was young (7-9) I always took coins from my mother’s purse in the morning for candy at school but I don’t really see it as stealing (in a technical sense it would’ve been)…I just see it as lunch money. It’s not like I got a lunchbox for school. I have to eat somehow. It was never bank notes, I always took coins. If you translate the amount into Euros it was never more than 1 euro. Directly translated though it was probably 50 cents. Just enough to buy a cheap packet of chips and candy. Obviously my mom knew, as all her silver coins (ZAR 1, ZAR 2, ZAR 5) was always missing. When I got older I took the silver coins out of the glove basket in the car in the mornings (in front of my mom). Eventually I was old enough to receive the maintenance money from my father and started to work. I now had my own money. I paid for my own cosmetics (shampoo, soap, etc.), phone internet and my half of the house internet, filled up the car and bought the basics every now and again (milk, bread). I however did waste a lot of money on candy and going to the mall with friends. I do want to add that I did pay for my own drivers license and all of my lessons. I also bought anything I might need for school and etc. Oh and I bought treats and toys for my dog.
So back when I was still in high school I would work as a baby sitter in the year and in December I would travel to my aunt who worked for a restaurant. December is the summer holiday and that’s when people really spend money. You want to work in the service industry so you can get tips. She always organized a job for me. It was my second year of working there and in this time the restaurant got new owners. I arrived in the beginning of the month and it started off the same as the year before. I slipped in the schedule with the other waiters and started to work my ass off. Every tip would count as this money would be used in the Netherlands a few months later. I was working there for two weeks, it was two days after Christmas when it happened.
I’m going to have to give a little back story though otherwise this won’t make sense. In front of the kitchen, in the mini kitchen where they make the beverages and where the food get placed for final touches before it goes to the tables, stood the register. It was chaos at the time so tables would be closing every 30 minutes. There must have been 9 waiters on the floor. Each of us balancing three tables at a time. So when the customer has paid, card or check, we will put it on the right side of the till for the manager or owner to close the table. If they pay cash, the manager/owner will put the change (your tip as indicated) in the empty bill case for you to pick up when you have a moment) and if they pay card they will staple the closed bill slip to the proof of payment from the card machine. Something your also supposed to pick up if you have moment. You need all of your tables bill slips at the end of your shift. After all those tables closing, the left side of the till would stack up really quickly. Now the outside of the bill case all looks the same so the only way of knowing that it’s your table and your money is to open the case and check. Everyone does it, looking or theirs and putting the empty cases where they belong (so we don’t run out).
It’s completely normal to check every moment you have a chance if you know one of your tables finished to see if your bill slip is between the stack. That’s was what I was doing when the owner found me. I was going through the cases, looking for mine (I had three tables that would be mine between everything) when I picked up one bill case and money fell out. It was really a small coin, worth 1 euro. I picked it up and put it back in the case. She saw this and thought I was stealing money. She immediately screamed at me IN FRONT of the entire restaurant, staff and customers included. Accusing me of stealing money and calling me every dirty name she could think off. She didn’t give me one second to defend my honor or explain what was happening. My aunt stepped in, seeing what happened and explained the situation. The owner simply said ‘oh’ and then walked off. I was in tears. Absolutely humiliated and so hurt. Everyone gathered to watch the show and after a few moments, I had to calm myself because I still had work. But I had enough. I didn’t want to work at this place for the rest of my holiday. Heck I could be spending this time with family and friends and instead I’m being treated like some common criminal. A thief. I finished my last bit of tables, asked my aunt to cash me up (so I can leave) before I grabbed my bag and said my goodbyes. The owner never even bothered to apologize and I never bothered to go back.
The funny thing is in that same bill case the 1 Euro fell and I picked up, laid 10 Euros. If I really was going to steal, would I really have taken the 1 euro? Maybe I overacted, by immediately quitting, the pure exhaustion from the 12 hours shifts surely didn’t help, but I never regretted my decision. Yes I lost out on a lot of money but it just wasn’t worth it.