Friday, November 30, 2007

Stealing The Tip

Today I was eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I was sitting close to a large group of people, and on the end of one of the sides of the table sat a small boy somewhere around nine years old or so.

I had noticed him a few times as he would do little things, but there was nothing especially noticeable about him. He seemed to be a nice boy, and the seven or eight women who were with him seemed to all be nice.

When they were ready to leave, the ladies were taking one-dollar bills out of their pocketbooks to leave tips. The lady who seemed to be the boy's mother took out two dollars and put on the end of the table.

The boy then got up, walked around a little, and then eventually came to the money the lady had put on the table for a tip. He looked at one dollar, then the other. He would fold one dollar in half and leave the other one on the table. He would put both the dollars back down and pick them up again. He handled the money much as a magician would.

Then, as the lady who had left the tip looked around as though something had taken her attention, the boy continued to play with the money. He smoothly folded one bill, placed it under the other bill, then took out the bill and slipped it down toward his pocket. He did not immediately put the money in his pocket, but he just rubbed the dollar up and down his leg close to his pocket. Then he smoothly and slowly slipped his hand and the dollar deep into his pocket. He left his hand inside for a few seconds; then he pulled out his hand without the dollar.

By this time everyone was standing and getting ready to leave. As the boy passed my table, I tapped him on the arm and said, "Are you going to share that dollar with me?" He at first looked shocked; then he smiled and shook his head in the affirmative. I did not realize that his mother had heard what I said, but she did; and she said, "Did he take that dollar again?" This gave me the idea that the boy may have taken tips before.

I told him I did not intend to get him in trouble, that I was just kidding with him. He just smiled as if he did not really mind. When I went out to pay for my meal, I noticed that the women had purchased several items, and one of the items was something in a box for the boy. I suppose he had won out after all. I suppose that is what you get when you steal tips.

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