LIHUE — An Iowa man waiting outside 5th Circuit Court on Monday said he was wrong for overreacting when his credit card came up missing while vacationing on Kauai.
“I was pretty stressed for being so far from home, and I had to deactivate a credit card that we relied upon,” said Richard Lee Conrad, of Independence, Iowa, who is on a group tour with his wife Mary. “It is a good thing that we still have a debit card.”
Conrad, a retired John Deere farm tractor worker of 38 years, said the couple returned to their room at Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu on Sunday. They took the hotel shuttle to the nearby plazas, where they dined at Savage Shrimp.
After dinner, Mary paid with the couple’s credit card, and the server brought them a French fry basket with the receipt. They didn’t notice at the time if the card was there or not.
They took the shuttle back to the hotel, where Conrad said they went to use the credit card at a hotel shop. They noticed it was gone and assumed they left it at the restaurant, because that was the only place they had been.
“The bell guys at the front called the restaurant, and they said, ‘No, they didn’t have it,’” Conrad said.
The hotel shuttle driver drove them back to the restaurant to check in person. Conrad said the waiter didn’t want to help them and became short with them, when they explained that Savage Shrimp was the last place where their credit card was used.
“Most people are fairly friendly but it was like, ‘I don’t know nothing about your credit card, so leave me alone,’” Conrad said.
The reaction upset Conrad, and he began to feel the card was not lost but perhaps taken.
Conrad said he went too far, however, and the police were called.
“I was stressed and I know what got me in trouble is that I told the people who were coming into this place, ‘Don’t eat here, this guy just stole my credit card’,” he added. “That is probably why I got charged with disorderly conduct.”
The police took Conrad’s information and allowed him to return to the hotel with his wife. An officer investigated the matter, which included reviewing the restaurant’s security surveillance tapes.
An hour and a half later, the officers went to the hotel and told Conrad the card was returned with his recipt, based their review of the tapes. They said his actions resulted a charge of disorderly conduct. He was brought to the station to be booked and released after posting $50 bond.
“The police were very nice,” he said.
The police informed Conrad that he needed to take care of the matter before leaving the island because his appearance at Kauai District Court was not until March 11.
“I am just going to go in and plead guilty,” Conrad said. “I was stressed and was probably a little loud, so I am guilty.”
Owner Susan Allyn said this is the first incident or disturbance like this since opening the restaurant 14 years ago. Allyn said security video does cover everything and shows the card was placed in the basket with Conrad’s receipt. The security cameras monitor 24/7.
“This business is not about ripping people off,” Allyn said.
The disturbance forced the restaurant to close at 7 p.m., she added. The trouble cost about $1,500 worth of business.
The restaurant is good about helping people when they don’t have the right change or the credit card doesn’t go through, she said. They give them the benefit of doubt and most of the time they send it back.
“We have been like that since I had my lunch wagon,” Allyn said. “We are not about the money, but about feeding people and for him to run off my sweet, sweet customers is really bad.”
Allyn said she was contacted by Conrad and he came by the restaurant to apologize on Monday afternoon. She wanted to help him resolve the matter and not cause him more trouble.
“We don’t want to have bad feelings but I also want him to think about what he did,” she said.
Even with everything that happened, Conrad said he got a case of the Kauai spirit as he encountered people who went out of their way to help him.
After his release from jail, Conrad said he took the Kauai bus back to Poipu. All he had were $20 bills and couldn’t make exact change.
“Three different people on that bus gave me money to make the exact fare,” Conrad said.