No, This Is Not From The Onion
The Veterans Affairs hospital in Charleston slapped a $525 fine on a man for shoplifting after he took a free refill, something the signs say is not allowed. Christoper T. Lewis paid 0.89 cents for the drink, but the VA wanted to fine him because they say the signs explicitly state no free refills.
The VA has now said they are no longer pursuing the citation and instead will be issuing Mr. Lewis a warning not to do it again. The hospital spokeswoman said, “Shoplifting is against the law and the signage is very clearly posted on the drink machine. The same citation could be issued to anyone who is shoplifting.”
If This Is Government Health Care …
Lewis had claimed that he was not given a chance to offer to pay the fine and had been planning on contesting the fine in federal court, had it not been dismissed by the VA themselves.
Local TV Station Story
The VA hospital that slapped a $525 federal fine on a man after he refilled his 89-cent drink without paying has backed down, choosing to issue a warning instead of a citation, a spokesperson for the facility said Thursday.
Christopher T. Lewis, of North Charleston, was issued the $525 citation on Wednesday after he ignored signage indicating that there’s no such thing as a free lunch — or complimentary drink refills — at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston. Lewis, who is not a federal employee, told responding officers he had done the same thing “multiple times” before and never had any problems, hospital spokeswoman Tonya Lobbestael told FoxNews.com.
“Shoplifting is against the law and the signage is very clearly posted on the drink machine,” Lobbestael said. “The same citation could be issued to anyone who is shoplifting.”
But Lobbestael said Thursday afternoon that the medical center had decided “a warning in lieu of a citation is sufficient in this case.” Authorities said earlier Thursday that Lewis, a construction worker who was employed near the medical center, also had been banned from his work site. It was not immediately clear whether that penalty remained in effect.