A Charleston, South Carolina man is speaking out after receiving a $525 ticket following his soda refill at a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital.
As reported by WCSC Live 5 News, construction worker Christopher Lewis was working on-site at the downtown Charleston VA Medical center and during lunch in the hospital cafeteria, he grabbed a refill of his drink without paying. Lewis failed to notice posted signs indicating that refills were not free. "As I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me by the arm and asked me, ‘Was I going to pay for that?’ And I told him I wasn't aware that I had to pay for that," Lewis recalled. The construction worker said that he never saw the posted signs and admitted that he had refilled drinks in the past without paying.
Mr. Lewis then attempted to pay for the $0.89 refill, but he said that he was not allowed to. The officer, who is also the chief of the Federal Police Force that patrols the VA hospital, issued Lewis a ticket for shoplifting. "I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong," said Lewis. "Every time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me, you know. I can't fathom the fact that I made an 89 cent mistake that cost me $525." A hospital spokesperson called his actions theft of government property.