Quote of the Day - Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Typically, his email would just be a comment to the original post, but because of his request, I thought it deserved some attention. Here it is, edited only slightly, mostly for capitalization and punctuation:
My name is Bert Taveras (the small tip guy you reported on), I read your article posted on 9/19. Seems yours was one of the few thousand reports that got most of it right. Thank you.
My family and I were unfortunately victims of this ridiculous custom of ours here in the states, 'Gratuity' and the vagueness of the laws surrounding it, which have been in the past causing law enforcement and restaurant owners everywhere to abuse or at times even discriminate as they see fit.
I truly believe there is more to it though. I believe that this system, loved and backed by the restaurant lobbyists, sides with restaurant owners and leaves the public, including the "poor" waiters, at its mercy.
These are the same guys that want to keep the minimum wage down or as close to a “slave-labor” category as possible.
On that evening, after being arrested in front of my friends and family, fingerprinted, having my mug shot taken by the local police for not leaving a big enough tip and then, having the news hit over 30,000 publications the next few days was humiliating to say the least.
This ridiculous charge against me or as the official notice stated: 'The People of New York vs. Humberto Taveras for Theft of Services' was, after 10 days, dismissed by the DA's office.
I think that in itself, the dismissal does nothing to correct the system, let alone help me through the grief my family and I endured. I want to add that to date, we haven’t even received an apology from either the restaurant owner or the County and truly believe that if it wasn’t for the press, I may have faced true jail time.
Consequently, being drawn into this, I feel it is not only my right, but my responsibility as a taxpaying citizen to stand up and ensure the law is made clear everywhere as well as being compensated for the misery we endured.
We are looking for someone to represent us in a civil lawsuit. If you know of any good lawyers who have the will to stand up for something that is right as we did, I would appreciate your references.
Bert Taveras, a.k.a. 'TIPSKATE'"
There you have it. Bert's perspective on his 15 minutes of fame. Admittedly, I'm neither a Plaintiff's lawyer nor admitted in New York, so Bert's desire to not only clear his name but also right a wrong is not a charge I'm going to pick up.
But I did write about him, and he deserves my help in his quest to find a Plaintiff's lawyer in New York who's interested in his case. Any lawyer who meets these criteria out there? If so, send me an email, and I'll put Bert in touch with you.