PENTICTON, BC—A Canadian man visiting the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, has voluntarily turned himself into police after forgetting to say sorry to a waitress in a local cafe.
RCMP say the incident occurred in the early hours of January 24th in a small breakfast cafe in the town. As a family of 4 went to leave the cafe, each family member thanked the waitress as they left. It was then when the father of the family is alleged to have bumped into the waitress, lightly brushing against her elbow. According to the man’s own statement, he said neither ‘sorry’ nor ‘thank you’ to the waitress before exiting the establishment.
While the family didn’t immediately recognize the severity of what had just happened, the victim, cafe staff and other patrons were left in shock. It wasn’t until the family approached the neighbouring city of Kelowna that it dawned on the man, what had happened. He is said to have immediately pulled into a local RCMP station, hugged his wife and two daughters goodbye, before turning himself in.
After describing the details of the incident he explained to police that he had simply “forgot” to say sorry. Police initially deemed the man’s suspicious claims of forgetfulness as “implausible” and charged him with one count of “withholding apologetic sentiments after an assault”. However they were satisfied once several eyewitness accounts confirmed his story. An RCMP spokesman said in a statement, “as this individual had no prior convictions and had turned himself into the police voluntarily, we feel that we can let him away with just a warning. However we have recommended he attend a 6-month anger management course, to minimize the risk of reoffending.”
In Canada, refusing to say ‘sorry’ was punishable by death up until 1963, until human rights activists argued that the punishment was “extreme” and did not “fit the crime”. From then on, the punishment was downgraded to life without parole.
With the case now closed, police have pleaded with the general public and media to leave the man alone and respect the severity of this crime. “While a story of this nature is understandably distressing and therefore of interest to the public,” an Okanogan County Sheriff told reporters, “it’s important to remember who the victim is in this story. There is an innocent woman whose life is now ruined. Please have some respect.”
Understandably the victim has been left traumatized by the entire incident. “Never before have I met anyone so rude,” she told FM News. “At first, I blamed myself. I figured maybe it was something I did. I even thought maybe my service was bad, maybe the food was terrible, maybe he was just European. I just couldn’t figure it out.”
When FM News caught up with her, she had just sold her house in the Okanagan, left her fiance and was in the process of moving to New York City in search of “a more peaceful life”.
While she claims the incident still haunts her, the man’s explanation has brought her some degree of comfort. “I’ll never waitress again but at least now I have closure,” she said, as she waved goodbye to her family. “Even if I’ll never fully understand how he could do what he did, I do forgive him.”
Back in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, the father of two claims he’s just trying to move on with his life. “We all have a cross to carry,” he said, “but with the help and forgiveness of the victim, my family and my community, maybe some day I’ll even learn to forgive myself.”
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