(ABC News) -- Kill them with kindness got elevated to a whole new level at an Ohio coffee shop.
When a security camera captured a man entering the Nervous Dog Coffee Bar in Stow and snatching money from the tip jar when the barista’s back was turned, no one called the police to report the theft. Instead, Nervous Dog owner Michael Litt posted the surveillance video on the shop’s Facebook page, and announced Nervous Dog was organizing a food drive for the man.
“We figured anyone desperate enough to steal a few bucks from a kid working her way through college is likely pretty hungry,” Litt said on Facebook. “We thought we would initiate a canned food drive for him; we’ll begin with a can or two from each employee, and make a box available in each of our shops for your kind contributions.”
Nervous Dog’s Manager Scott Moses, 24, told ABC News that one of the store’s employees noticed the tip jar seemed to be low on tips for that time day as she counted the money at the end of her shift.
So she turned to the security camera surveillance tape, and that’s when she saw the man grabbing money from the tip jar.
“We were just kind of baffled that someone would do that,” Moses said.
“It was disheartening, because we all work at a coffee shop, and it’s not like we have glamorous careers. A lot of us are still in college, and we are trying to pay off student loans. Most people that work here are in school still. The tips are what helps us out the most.”
Moses said community response to the food drive had been mixed.
On one hand, there were those who thought the store was rewarding the thief by collecting food for him, said Moses, but then others said the store was doing the right thing “by showing awareness.”
“There are people that are going through a hard enough time,” Moses said.
Moses couldn’t verify how much money the man had taken, but he told ABC News that so far, the staff had managed to gather a whole box full of canned goods for him, along with some cash.
The food drive has been going on for two weeks, in two Nervous Dog stores. Moses expects more donations will come in as Christmas approaches. On Friday someone donated $10 in cash, Moses said.
Moses said the bar was keeping an envelope with money for the man to pick up, along with the food.
Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank will receive the canned goods if the man, whom nobody has identified, doesn’t come forward to claim the donations, said Moses.