CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC — Rules are rules, however, sometimes they just seem ridiculous.
And in this case, the rule was ridiculous.
A constructor worker dodged a $525 fine for an unauthorized drink refill at a VA Hospital.
The steep fine nearly levied was because refilling a soda without paying is considered shoplifting. The main paid for an .89 drink but obtained a drink refill without paying because he didn’t know he had to.
The ridiculous event occurred at a VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston.
Christopher Lewis,a construction worker who worked onsite at the hospital said that he had no idea that refills at the VA Medical Center were not free.
When he took his unauthorized refill Wednesday he was slapped with federal charges in a ticket issued by Federal Police. A hospital spokesperson actually called the unauthorized refill as a “theft of government property.”
Lewis was approached in the cafeteria and said that he actually tried to pay the .89 cents but was not allowed to.
He said he was taken to a room and told that he is not allowed back on the property.
The medical center originally released the following statement,
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is fortunate to have a highly trained Federal police force to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and employees. As Federal police they are responsible for enforcing the law. Today a Federal citation was issued for shoplifting in the VA cafeteria to an individual who stated to VA police he had not paid for refills of beverages on multiple occasions, even though signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons refills are not free. Shoplifting is a crime. The dollar amount of the ticket is not determined by VA as it is a Federal citation. The citation may be paid or the recipient may choose to appear in Federal court to contest it.
Perhaps they have realized just how foolish they look because they have have changed their stance.
VA spokeswoman Tonya C. Lobbestael said that after reviewing the incident officials have decided a warning will be issued and not further charges pursued., which is exactly what they should have done in the first place.