The cost of a drink isn’t what it used to be for a North Charleston man who was slapped with a $525 fine for refilling his 89-cent drink and now faces federal charges.
On-site construction worker Chris Lewis told WCSC News he didn’t know refills at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston weren’t free.
A hospital spokesperson called it a “theft of government property,” the station reported.
“Every time I look at the ticket, it’s unbelievable to me,” says Lewis, who works construction. “I can’t fathom the fact that I made an 89-cent mistake that cost me $525.”
Lewis says he never noticed “No Free Re-Fill” signs and admits he had refilled his drink without paying on other occasions. He says after he went back for seconds on Wednesday, a man who identified himself as the chief of police, stopped him.
“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 told WCSC that he tried to pay the $0.89 right there, but wasn’t allowed to. He says he wasn’t given the chance to pay the cashier either.
“I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong.”
He says he was taken to a room, given the $525 ticket for shoplifting and told not to return to the property.
“I’m done there, at the VA hospital. I’m not allowed to go on the premises anymore. I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises.”