A South Carolina restaurant owner forgave the man who admitted to drunkenly stealing her establishment’s Santa statue after he returned it and apologized.
Mayra Gallo, owner of Bonjour Main in downtown Greenville, South Carolina, said she would not press charges against the man named Melvin, who returned the Santa statue last Thursday after nabbing it on Dec. 11, according to local ABC affiliate WSPA.
Melvin, whose Santa-snatching was caught on the restaurant’s surveillance footage, apologetically returned to Bonjour Main both with the pilfered Santa and some flowers, and willingly sat down for an interview with the local outlet.
“I’m sorry. Really sorry,” Melvin said. “I know saying sorry doesn’t do anything, but I promise I’ll do better.”
Local reporter Henry Coburn, who was covering the story, said Melvin showed up at the restaurant while he was on the scene.
“He shook my hand, introduced himself as Melvin and looked both nervous and extremely embarrassed,” Coburn said. “I was worried he was about to cry. I try to put him at ease, still in shock I was about to get his confession on camera. I mic’d him up and we began.”
When he sobered up, Melvin realized what he had done and took the Santa statue back to the restaurant and asked for forgiveness. He also brought with him a dozen roses to express his contrition to Gallo.
Melvin explained that he had been out on the town drinking that night to celebrate a friend’s birthday when the festive statue caught his eye.
“Just wasn’t thinking,” he said. “I was like, ‘That’s cool. Wish I had it.'”
Bonjour Main’s owner accepted his apology and told him she would not press charges if his remorse was genuine, but she also said he would have to prove it by going on-camera to confess on the local news.
“I’ll do anything I can to make things right, pay for any damages, fix anything I can, work for free,” said Melvin. “I’ll literally do anything to resolve this situation in the most positive way possible.”
While Gallo said she had no intention of pressing charges against Melvin, which she said was her Christmas gift to him, she did tell the local outlet that she would take him up on his offer to help out at the restaurant.