This story is hot on the Internet today, but as usual, a lot of people are missing the point. An Italian tourist enjoyed $208 worth of food at a New York steakhouse called Smith & Wollensky. He then realized he had left his wallet in his hotel room. He first offered to leave his iPhone behind while he retrieved his wallet. For those of you that don’t know, even an older iPhone would easily be worth more than $208. The steakhouse refused. He then asked if someone could come with him to the hotel so he could get them payment. Once again, the offer was refused and the police were called. He ended up spending the night in jail after being arrested.
Now, tons of people are commenting on how ridiculous of an overreaction this was on the part of Smith & Wollensky. However, almost no one on Internet social media and forums is pointing out another glaring problem. Why did the police, once summoned, not make a rational decision and arrange a better solution than taking the tourist to jail. Could they not have convinced the steakhouse to go for one of the plans or even accompanied the tourist to the hotel themselves. Yes, I know the police have better things to do than be a concierge service, but would it have not been a more economical use of resources to let him get his money and mediate it than to lock the man up. Surely that cost more resources than a cop running him to his hotel or at least negotiating with the steakhouse for a more peaceful outcome.
We have laws and the police are tasked with enforcing those laws, but couldn’t we all use a dose of common sense sometimes? I’m quite sure that there are probably lots of problems with people running out on expensive meal tickets all across the United States, but this doesn’t seem even remotely like someone making a mad dash for the door. For this Italian tourist who was trying to spend money in our great country, you can bet he won’t be leaving for his homeland with a very favorable outlook on the “Land of the Free.” A little common sense, general human understanding and kindness, and rational decision-making could have provided such a nicer, gentler outcome.
Welcome to America…where forgetting your wallet is a punishable offense that results in handcuffs and jail. Land of the free? Or the brave? What do you think?