Tim Morse says he was bartending at Tequila Bookworm on Queen Street in Toronto when a man allegedly walked out on his $90 bill.
“It was a bummer, obviously,” he said.
“He didn’t seem out of the ordinary. He was talking about working in the industry.
“He said, ‘I’m going to go for a cigarette,’ and he never came back.”
Morse said he recalled the man speaking about where he worked — a restaurant in the St. Lawrence Market area — and he decided to call the establishment to see if he could locate the alleged dine and dasher.
“When I called the bar in question,” the restaurant manager said, “they had immediately reacted with ‘no one by that name works here.’
“That’s when I figured it was just a scam.”
Morse said he notified his staff members, but several hours later, while out at another bar, he said he confronted the man but he got away.
“He seemed really remorseful. He seemed honest and then he ran off,” he said, adding that’s why he decided to post about the incident on social media.
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Morse posted a photo of the man and he received a number of messages from managers and employees from other restaurants in the city, saying they had a similar situations happen involving a similar-looking man.
“Three-hundred-plus comments later, I noticed it was a thread of people talking from bars in the Beaches, to bars in Parkdale and uptown, [down town]. He’s hitting all over Toronto,” Morse said.
Arumugam Mohan, owner of Toby’s Pub and Eatery and the Two Headed Dog in Toronto, said the man has walked out on bills at both of his establishments.
“At Toby’s — my other bar — he had $74 on food and beverage and here at Two Headed Dog pub, he had $118 [in] food and beverage,” Mohan said.
Mohan also posted surveillance video online showing the man allegedly attempting to walk out on a bill earlier in August. In that incident, Mohan said customers stopped the man and he called police, but they didn’t attend the scene and the man took off after three hours.
“He was pleading, ‘I have no money,’” he said.
“He chose to go to the bathroom and took off,” the restaurant owner said, adding he reported the incidents to police and they are currently investigating.
Mohan said while these incidents do happen occasionally, he wants fellow restaurant owners and managers to be aware.
“If he did it one or two places, that’s a different story, but he’s continually doing it to so many places,” he said. “It’s frustrating because we work really hard.
“It’s not fair for the people, the workers and the small business owners. We suffer, too.”