His bill was $27.85. Not an extravagant or even remotely expensive bill, but apparently more than he'd bargained for. Looking at him my first thought was about having to explain this to my manager. My second thought was that if you only have fifteen bucks wouldn't you be watching your spending and stop a pitcher and an appetizer ago? My third thought was how do you have less than twenty dollars between two adult men? And why had I given you such effing good service?
Suddenly he interrupted my spiraling train of thought. "I got some cash in my car."
Sure thing, buddy. I watch him stand and stride towards the door before I can even protest. As much as I don't believe him, I leave the table to take an order nearby and give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, his friend is still at the table. So I smile and start taking the order a few tables down. Just as I'm asking "breaded or naked?" I see the man's friend get up and head for the door. I'm in the middle of the order and there is nothing I can do. I have just been dine and ditched.
As I'm about to tell my manager what happened I make my way past the table. Glancing over and shaking my head I notice something below one of the stools. A wallet. With wallet and receipt in hand I approach my manager. Handing him both I explain the situation as he opens the wallet. He finds the usual information, an ID, credit cards. But he also finds $90 in cash. Not only did he have enough to pay, he had three times the amount of his bill in his wallet. The wallet he dropped when he attempted to skip out on the bill. The wallet that told us exactly who he was.
Rather than keep the wallet in the safe and make a phone call to its owner as we'd usually do, my manager called the police. Yes, the bill was less than thirty dollars and that may seem extreme, but as a total dumbass he deserved it. So the police came, questioned us and took the wallet to the station.
The next day the phone rang. "You'll never guess who called," giggled the bartender.
A few hours later our freeloader returned to pay his bill with wallet in hand. He left me a fifteen dollar tip.