“Anne. We’re driving right by it; let’s make a quick stop at Cafe O’lei.” I pointed at the restaurant, indicating to my sister-in-law to pull into their parking lot.

I could sense that Anne winced a bit at my suggestion.

Anne consists almost entirely of a gentle soul, almost. My suggestion had her anticipating confrontation, and she seemed tense. But I have no qualms about exercising my confrontational skills whenever I feel purposely crossed.

“I just want to take a look at our last night’s bill.” I said causally, trying to put her at ease.

As soon as she parked the car, I bolted out, and stomped upstairs to the 2nd floor restaurant. That was my charitable signal to Anne that she isn’t expected to participate in my impending awkward business. Even though she was also part of the injustice we presumed to have suffered at this restaurant.

“Aloha!” the restaurant hostess greeted me with a wide smile. Anne followed me inside and sat down at the wooden bench in the lobby to watch us.

“Hi.” I walked up to the hostess, “Well, I have an odd request for you. We had dinner here last night, a party of ten. We paid for our meal without seeing the actual bill. And I would like to take a look at our bill from last night.” I calmly stated my business to the hostess.

“Oh!” she took her big smile away, and appeared surprised by such a request. “Let me go ask my manager.” She walked off.

She returned within a few minutes, and said, “I am sorry. You will have to give us the receipt number in order for us to locate the bill” then added, “There are a couple of hundred receipts from yesterday.”

I simply stared back at her, and shot her with my “you are not helpful” look.

The hostess was smart; she instantly read my look, and said with a weak smile, “I know that’s not helpful, since the receipt number is on the bill that you want to see. But we have hundreds of bills from yesterday.”

“I would like to speak with your manager.” I stated.

She walked back into the restaurant again for me.

Minutes later, a middle aged woman in a hot pink reddish shirt walked towards me. She greeted me with a guarded tight smile. People came into a restaurant not wanting food, and asking to be entertained by the manager can only amount to something very bad.

“Aloha.” I greeted her smilingly, “This is rather awkward, as Cafe O’lei is one of our favorite restaurant here on Maui. We come to eat here every time we are visiting the island.”

The manager’s body language relaxed. I was an unlikely candidate to yell and scream in her restaurant.

“We had dinner here last night. We were a party of ten. We gave four credit cards to our waiter, and asked for it to be split four ways. Our waiter came back with 4 credit card receipts to sign, but we never saw the actual bill.”

The manager listened intently without interruption.

I continued, “I asked our waiter if he already added the service charge. He said no. I was surprised because the menu clearly said there was a 18% service charge for parties of 6 or more. We double checked with him two more times, and he assured us that he did not add the service charge. So we all added a 20% tip to our totals.”

The manager nodded her head, and said, “then you went home, and figured that the numbers are not adding up.”

“Exactly. I just don’t feel good about this, so when we were driving by your restaurant, I decided to come in and ask to see the bill.” me.

“Who is your waiter? Our receipts are sorted by wait staff, and if you tell me who your waiter is, I can more easily find that receipt for you.” manager.

“Uh…I don’t remember his name. I was drinking.” me thinking back to last night…

Fruity drink

“His name is Todd.” Anne chimed in from the bench.

One thing about Anne, she is always helpful to have around. (Another thing about Anne, she might be reading this blog).

We also give her our total bill amount, and she left to go find our bill.

A long while passed, and she finally showed up again with a bill in her hand.

“I am very sorry about this. Todd is very new here.” she showed me our bill.

“Yeah, this is our food bill. And oh–here is the 18% service charge.” I said. Anne came to also examine the bill and nodding.

“You guys even tipped him more than the 18%. I am going to give you a refund for your 20% tip. I will be right back.” She took the bill back, and walked off towards their bar area.

I was a bit sad that our young waiter, who had asked where we were visiting from and told us his girlfriend attends college at Washington State, would blatantly lie to us for an undeserved tip.

A few more minutes later…

“Again, I am sorry about this. Here is your refund.” She handed me back our tip. “I will have a chat with Todd.”

“You definitely should. We don’t believe this was a honest mistake.” me.

This served him right.

If he is lucky enough to keep his job, the next time he sees a group of harmless looking tourists participating in a joyful meal, the only thing on his mind would be to offer the most fantastic service, and would never ever think to cheat anyone again! Because if he did, the tourists might sober up the next day, might do math, might get wicked mad that they have been cheated. They might even tear themselves away from the glorious beaches, in favor of storming back into the restaurant, demand their money back, and condemn his disgraceful behavior to his boss!!

We thanked the manager, and walked out of the restaurant.

Related previous post: Mother’s Day Madness
Kotofuku V

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