The owner of a Taranaki diner has offered a job to a teen offender who stole money from her restaurant’s tip jar.
In February two 15-year-old girls went into New Plymouth’s Deluxe Diner and nicked $30 cash from the restaurant’s tip jar, before returning a short time later to try to spend it.
Four months later the pair have apologised and returned the money.
Owner Chere Bailey told RadioLIVE that her restaurant is a popular American-themed diner.
“We get a lot of tips in our tip jar - people enjoy our great service.
Bailey says her manager on duty at the time of the robbery was confused about how much money was in the tip jar.
“She was questioning herself [saying] I’m sure that there was money in there – I saw it in there, and she thought that was weird that those girls have gone and just didn’t really think anything more of it.
It’s understood the youngsters had taken the money and attempted to spend it at the restaurant later that day.
Bailey then decided to go to the police to report the crime.
“We made a statement to the police and I put it on Facebook,” she said. “And people in the community had heard the girls bragging on Facebook about it. So they easily found out who it was.”
A restorative justice meeting was arranged by a social worker who invited Bailey to have a say.
“And let them know how hard our staff work and how it’s affected us, because I felt like I needed to try and reach them. Only one of them came to that meeting.
“It started off being really hard for her to be in the room and then by the end of it I felt like we were getting somewhere with her and she gave a lovely apology and we had a hug.”
Since the offending, Bailey has offered one of the girls a job in the restaurant.
“We found out she was interested in cooking and hospitality, and I said I don’t want her to pay the money back – I’d really like her to come work in my diner.
“I said [to the girl] – I’ll give you a job,” Bailey said. “And they were completely blown away by that.”
And that’s completely changed her outlook.
"It was a really powerful moment,” Bailey said.
She told Wendyl Nissen that other business owners who have a similar experience should be inspired to do the same.
“I think that [the offender] should come and do something to repay the money and cadet with whoever they’ve taken from so they understand the situation and help put it right.”
Listen to the full interview with Chere Bailey above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.