A Maine man was sentenced to 90 days in jail last week after pleading guilty to “theft of services” for creatively skipping out on restaurant checks. He would fake chest pains when the check arrived, ride away in an ambulance and then disappear from the hospital before police showed up. The man, Elias I. Elias (and I’m sure that’s his real name), 54, of Bangor, Maine, has been convicted of this scam in at least three counties. He has now pleaded guilty to 18 misdemeanor charges involving 13 free meals.
This led to the inevitable quote from Elias’s court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey Davidson, who told the court that his client was homeless and unemployed and just wanted to eat a restaurant meal like anybody else. “Even if he didn’t have dignity,” said Davidson, “he wanted to feel like he did.” And nothing makes you feel more dignified than faking a heart attack in front of a roomful of people in order to get a free meal, except maybe when you get up and run out of the emergency room.