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Community supports restaurant stiffed after power outage

Posted at 11:08 PM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 23:08:15-04

A Cape Coral restaurant owner says customers stiffed him on their bills after a power outage at the restaurant.

Jay Johnson owns Bubba's Roadhouse and Saloon in Cape Coral. He said last Monday, a tree blew onto some power lines and took out his power. Johnson said he knew the wood-fire grills would fill the restaurant with smoke, so he brought the customers outside. Without internet, he couldn't close out bills for people playing with credit cards, so instead of making them wait potentially hours for power to be restored, Johnson asked customers for their phone numbers and said he'd call them to settle up later. 

"We did have a small group that didn't pay that gave us either a bad number, or basically said 'That's not the experience we were expecting' and refused to pay," Johnson said.

He said the people who didn't pay left with full bellies, or at least full plates.

"One of them, we packed up. They were in the middle of eating and we helped them pack up what was there so they could finish," Johnson said.

He said this experience left Bubba's out $300.

"But in the lost revenue from 7-to-close, we probably lost over a thousand," he said.

His friend Marc Collins decided to do something about it. He knows Johnson through volunteering, where Johnson has served food at charity events.

"Jay is one of, I'm going to say Southwest Florida's greatest friends," Collins said.

Collins decided to return the favor by posting on Facebook, calling on people to join him for a meal Wednesday to make up for the lost money. The post went viral in Southwest Florida.

"I hope I have to stand in line. I hope I have to wait. And I've never bussed a table, I am not opposed to helping bus a table if it's busy," Collins said.

Johnson said he hopes the people who walked out on their bills think again next time, but said he's amazed how one unkind act can lead a community to show their kindness.

"I try to think of myself as a man's man, and I'm strong, but it almost makes me buckle at the knees," Johnson said.

Collins said if you want to show your support, you can head to Bubba's on Pine Island Road any time Wednesday after they open at 11:30AM.