Unusually large tip returned by honest B.C. restaurant

A Vernon mother is thrilled by one business owner’s honesty

For every dishonest person willing to prey on others, there is an honest person out there wanting to make things right— that’s the lesson one Vernon man learned recently.

On a whim, Steven Schwebbach, 27, decided to stop at Taco Del Mar for lunch on his way to work one day in late November. He ordered a soft taco combo and chatted with the staff about his volunteer work at the Salvation Army before paying for his meal, unaware that instead of leaving a $4 tip on his $12 meal, he had accidentally left a $40 tip.

When the staff members who had served Steven that day discovered the “unusually large tip,” while doing their cash out, they contacted restaurant owner Byron Skelton and reported it. Skelton, having met Steven before, said he realized who had left the tip after reviewing the day’s camera footage and removed the $40 from the totals, setting it aside for Steven to retrieve.

“It’s the kind of thing that could happen to anyone,” his mother, Barbara said, referring to the accident.

The difference, she explained, is that, while she might have noticed the discrepancy right away, her son, who has been diagnosed with a “moderate developmental delay,” did not.

“Steven as independent as he can be, has difficulty with money, so we have to depend on people being honest.

“There have been times when Steven has gone places, and I think this happens a lot with people with disabilities, where we’ve had situations where he’s made a debit purchase or even paid in cash, and not been given the correct change.”

Barbara said she and her husband do have certain precautions in place to protect their son, but he, and other people she knows within the “community of people with disabilities,” can’t always be protected from those who wish to take advantage.

“People with disabilities don’t like being ripped off either,” she pointed out, before recalling an incident where Steven was shorted about $6.

“We went back to the store with the receipt and the change he was given and explained that he didn’t realize he hadn’t received the correct change, and asked for the change. We were basically told ‘too bad.’”

Steven says he won’t go back to that store because it makes him feel uncomfortable, and also carries a pen and paper to do calculations after he pays for a purchase, or brings a friend with him to keep a watchful eye.

Incidents like that, she said, often leave Steven feeling apprehensive about returning to those places. She noted stories like that, tend to reverberate throughout the “community of people with disabilities,” and word can spread quickly about which places are “safe” or “unsafe.”

When she spotted the suspiciously high charge from the 24th Street restaurant on Steven’s bank statement later that day, Barbara said she was fully prepared for a fight.

Armed with a printed copy of Steven’s bank statement showing the charge, Barbara’s husband went to the restaurant to confront the franchise’s owner, Skelton, about correcting the error.

But the fight the Schwebbachs emotionally prepared themselves for, never happened.

When her husband walked in the door of Taco Del Mar, Skelton already had $40 in an envelope.

Skelton said he even went to the Salvation Army one day hoping to find Steven, when he recalled the young man saying he worked there. He didn’t come across Steven, but held on to the money anyway, figuring he’d come back sooner or later.

Taking that extra step, Skelton noted is more than just “good business.” It’s just part of being a good person.

“When my husband texted me and told me Byron had Steven’s money, I couldn’t believe it. We didn’t think it would be that easy. We expected to be given a hard time,” Barbara said.

“It seemed like they went above and beyond to make sure. I mean, they could have tried and then just given up after a few days. To keep the money there for Steven in hopes that he would come back — I mean, I was amazed.”

Barbara said she was so impressed, she did what many people do when they want to share a story — positive or negative, she took it to Vernon Rant and Rave, a popular local social media forum.

“We all like to be told when we’re doing something right, because, particularly when you work in customer service, we often hear when we’re doing something wrong. I just thought it was really worthy of publicity.”

Barbara said as news of the the incident has spread, the restaurant has been promoted within the disability community in Vernon as a place that is safe for people to go, “where they’re not going to be ripped off.”

In an era when people with disabilities sometimes get taken advantage of more often than many of us realize, she added, a safe place is a “big deal.”

Erin Christie


@VernonNews
erin.christie@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RELATED

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

The Freeride World Tour will be back in Golden for the fourth year in a row, with athletes coming from across the world to ski at Kicking Horse. (Jeremy Bernard Photography/Kicking Horse Mountain Resort/Instagram photo)
Freeride World Tour to return to Golden

The tour will have a modified championship format in it’s fourth annual stop at Kicking Horse

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read