A Florida woman and her mother have been arrested for skipping out on a restaurant check after the daughter told the cashier that she would go to heaven if the meal was free, or go to hell if she insisted on charging the meal to her credit card.
According to NewsChief.com, Willie “Mother” Lewis, 78, and her daughter Ruthena Lewis, 44, ate breakfast at the A&G Restaurant in Winter Haven, Florida, with the bill coming to $18.46
After finishing, Ruthena Lewis took her mother out to the car and then returned to the restaurant to pay her bill. Lewis presented A&G cashier Crystal Henson with her credit card which was subsequently declined. According to the restaurant staff, Lewis held the cancel button down as the Henson attempted to process the charge.
According to the police report, “(Ruthena Lewis) stated to (Henson) that if she gave them the meal for free she would go to heaven. If she ran the credit card again, she would go to hell.”
Lewis then handed the cashier a business card with the name of her church pastor , Bishop Joseph Lewis of the Church of God the Bible Way, on it, saying to call him and he would pay the bill. Lewis is not related to the two women.
Ruthena Lewis then left the restaurant, got into her car with her mother and drove off, however a restaurant employee got her license number and turned it over to Winter Haven police, who arrested the pair soon after.
The mother, Willie Lewis, who was in the car and couldn’t see what had transpired, had $80 cash in her purse at the time of her arrest.
Following the arrest Bishop Joseph Lewis went to the restaurant and paid the women’s bill, getting assurances from owner George Paragios that he would ask police to drop charges against the women.
According to police reports, officers arrived at the restaurant to have Paragios sign a waiver of prosecution and Paragios declined.
“He advised that he wanted to continue with the charges, and refused to sign the waiver,” the report says.
Restaurant staff member, Natasha Anthony, said the two women purposely left the restaurant without paying for their food.
“The law is the law whether you’re 25 years old or 85 years old.”
Since that time, members of the Church of God the Bible Way have been picketing A&G Restaurant urging customers to stay away.
Willie Lewis and Ruthena Lewis’ next court date is March 4, said Brian Haas, State Attorney’s Office spokesman, although the case may be resolved before that.
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.