When you picture in your mind the modern iteration of Robin Hood—some rogue benevolent soul willing to risk life and limb to bring about much-needed social reform—you probably aren't thinking of the waiter at your local IHOP. That being said, you might just want to rethink your conception of just how much maple syrup the 21st-century Robin Hood actually pours on a day-to-day basis.
After all, Brooklyn is so totally the new Sherwood Forest and some unassuming IHOP owner just found himself cast as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
William F. Powell, a 27-year-old waiter in a downtown Brooklyn IHOP, was found to be giving away tons of free drinks to customers between early August 2015 and mid-February of this year.
The crime came to the attention of Akrell Cox, the owner of the IHOP, when he noticed that Powell's drink sales were only 6 percent of the total of his receipts. Other waiters' beverage sales amounted to more like 17 to 20 percent of their sales.
So Cox kicked into action. He reviewed surveillance footage and saw that Powell's customers weren't going thirsty. In fact, the footage revealed that Powell's customers were quaffing as many drinks as other customers.
Cox then looked through the restaurant's records and found that Powell just hadn't been charging customers for drinks.
Charges were brought against Powell including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and petit larceny. What does he have to say for himself? According to the complaint, Powell did indeed explain himself to investigators: "I am the modern day Robin Hood, I am not stealing, I am serving the ones in need, I take from the rich and give to the poor." The rich here, in Powell's analysis, is IHOP. The poor? Every customer he served for months.
Cox told the authorities that thanks to Powell's freebies, his business lost roughly $3,000 in drink sales.
After explaining his motives, Powell added, "What's the big deal? I've been doing this since I started here." His next court appearance is scheduled for May 11.
Fuck Che Guevara and Guy Fawkes. A hundred years from now, we'll all be wearing T-shirts idolizing this freedom-fighting waiter—and you'd best believe it'll be glorious.