Could an 89 cent refill result in a $525 fine? This question may seem pretty ridiculous but it was a real possibility for a man who refilled his drink after failing to pay the measly 89 cent refill charge. It was previously reported by Fox News that Christopher Lewis, of North Charleston, S.C., would be required to pay the fine after a federal police officer gave him the $525 ticket. However, an updated report from WCSC-TV today says that, much to the relief of Lewis, he will instead be given a warning.
A statement from the VA regarding the issue said: "In reviewing the case, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has determined a warning in lieu of a citation is sufficient in this case."
Lewis, a construction worker, spoke with the local news station about the 89 cent refill $525 fine and he said that he never saw any signs at the VA Medical Center pertaining to the refill charge and he also claimed that he has refilled his drink without paying before. Initially, the medical center issued Lewis the $525 fine for shoplifting, and they explained to the man that they had no control over the amount of the fine that the Federal Police Force at the center gave him.
"As I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me by the arm and asked me was I going to pay for that, and I told him I wasn't aware that I had to pay for that." He continued..."Every time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me,” Lewis expressed. “I can't fathom the fact that I made a $0.89 mistake that cost me $525."
After being confronted by the officer, Lewis says he tried to pay the 89 cent refill fee right there, but he said the officer wouldn't let him. "I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong," Lewis explained.
He says he was escorted to a room where he received the $525 ticket for shoplifting and was told by officers that he was banned from the property. To make matters worse, as a result of the incident, Lewis was also fired from his job as an on-site construction worker at the center.
"I'm done there, at the VA hospital. I'm not allowed to go on the premises anymore. I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises," the frustrated Lewis concluded.