Dine and Dash: What Would You Do?

What would you do if you saw a group of teens skip out on the bill?

ByABC News
January 4, 2011, 1:49 PM

Jan. 6, 2011 — -- Some call it a mindless adolescent prank, an immature act of indiscretion, or even a teen "rite of passage": teenagers eating their fill in a crowded restaurant or diner, and leaving without paying for anything. It's often called "dine and dash" or "beating the bill" and it could wind up leaving the restaurant and wait staff in hot water with the management.

We set up our hidden cameras at the American Dream Diner in Orangeburg, N.Y. and hired three actors portraying hungry teens to take a bite out of the restaurant's profits. The waitress was also an actress, but the patrons in the dining room were real and about to witness the "dine and dash" first hand.

After the teens ordered and ate their meals, one by one, we had them leave the restaurant without paying the bill. A few customers raised their eyebrows and some stared at the teens, but early on, our actors were able to make a clean getaway, leaving the waitress to deal with the aftermath.

We wondered, what would happen if that waitress was forced to reimburse the missed tab? To find out, we had another actor pose as the unforgiving restaurant manager who had no sympathy for our stiffed server, and that is when things got interesting.

Again, we asked our actors to finish their meal and get up from the table one at a time. When all three had left the scene, two men at one table and a group of people at another made an agreement. The two tables decided to split the unpaid tab and save our waitress from further distress.

"We're gonna pick up their tab. We'll split it between the two of is -- it's a nonissue," one man said.

In fact, each time as the teens pulled the "dine and dash" over and over throughout the day, at least one customer was happily willing to pick up the tab, saving the waitress from digging into her own pocket.

Frank and Connie Krasinski were among those who offered to pay for the bill.

"Nobody's got money today and she was crying like she's going to lose her job," Frank said.

Connie pointed to her husband and said, "I'm out of work and he knows what it's like to be unemployed so we're going to help her out."