-- A woman paid back $200 she stole from a bar 15 years ago while bartending because "it was wrong and I regret it."
When Pamela Hedges, owner of the sports bar Gibb's, found out a letter in her mailbox, she thought it was a credit letter from a bank. But when she opened the envelope, she was stunned to find a $200 check and a handwritten apology from a thief.
The note came last Thursday from an ex-employee who worked for Hedges’ bar 15 years ago, asking for forgiveness of a crime. Pamela Hedges, 57, and her husband Gibbs Hedges, 71, owned the bar for 30 years in Beatrice, Neb. While working at the bar, the employee had stolen about $200, the letter stated.
“I worked for you at Gibbs back in 1999 or 2000 (I think),” the letter read. “.. Not only was I flaky employee, I also stole from the drawer when I worked."
The ex-employee, who now lives in Omaha, Neb., wrote that she regretted everything she did.
"I want to make sure you know I was appreciative of the job and that I regretted stealing from you. Please accept this check for what I estimate to be how much I stole. I hope you are both well," the woman wrote.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC News, “I returned the money because it was wrong and I regret it.”
"I was young and I was dishonest. I only worked at the bar for a month or two on the weekends. I wasn't a very good bartender," she said.
"If I can speak with them [Pamela and Gibb Hedges] again, I would tell them how much I appreciated the job," the ex-barmaid said. "I have my life back on the right track now, and I regret everything I did."
Hedges said she and her husband knew that some employees were taking cash out of the register, and some drinks were poured but never paid for.
“Sometimes there was only $200 in the cash register by the end of the night when we knew we made more than that,” Hedges told ABC News.
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“My husband actually took the register to the repairman to see if it was broken,” Hedges said.
“The repairman said, 'The register is not broke, but you are,’” Hedges laughed.
Hedges said both she and her husband were stunned to receive the letter.
“My husband couldn’t believe this,” Hedges said. “It was just such a rare circumstance. Especially for her to do that after 15 years.”
“We don’t really remember the employee. But it was so courageous for her to first, admit her mistake. Second, to financially compensate for what she did,” Hedges said. She declined to make public the woman's name.
Hedges said she is curious about why the ex-employee wrote to her after so much time, and she plans on writing her back. Hedges said that the letter writer isn't the only former employee who stole from the bar while working the cash register.
"If I can speak with them [Pamela and Gibb Hedge] again, I would tell them how much I appreciated the job," the ex-employee said. "I have my life back on the right track now, and I regret everything I did."