TN woman charged to use restroom - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN woman charged to use restroom

Posted: Updated:

By Laura T. Coffey, TODAY

ERIN, TN (NBC) -- When you gotta go, you gotta go — but, of course, most restaurants only want paying customers to use their restrooms. One restaurant in Tennessee opted to take this issue to a whole new level by charging fees for non-paying potty use.

Patricia Barnes recently rushed into a restaurant called The Flood Zone in Erin, TN, and asked a woman behind the counter if she could use the bathroom. She got permission and quietly did her business.

A few days later, she received a handwritten note from the restaurant in the mail. Barnes was stunned.

"I don't feel it was a crime," she said. "I've been into plenty of restaurants here in this town and other towns, and, you know, other states."

The note mentioned a sign that specifically states the restaurant would charge a $5 fee to anyone who isn't a customer. Barnes said she didn't see the note until an employee approached her after she left the restroom.

"It was a little index card at the very bottom of the mirror.  I didn't look in the mirror at all that day," Barnes said.

The restaurant's owner tracked Barnes down by writing down her vehicle license plate and having the sheriff trace it to its owner. (The bill was addressed to "Mrs. Edwards;" Barnes' husband's name is Randy Edwards.)

"I just thought it was unbelievable," she said. "I'm like, what type of people are these?"

Barnes went back to the restaurant and offered to pay the $5, but the owners refused. She then mailed them a certified money order, but that came back. The owner apparently changed her mind about the bill, saying she only wanted to make a point.

Thursday on TODAY, celebrity chef and restaurant owner Bobby Flay called the incident "totally ridiculous."

Having members of the public come into your establishment only to use the restroom is "just part of doing business," he said. It also shows good will on the part of the owner.

"There's plenty of people that come to the restaurant, use the bathroom and leave, and that's the way it goes," Flay said.

  • NewsMore>>

  • UTC's Robert Fisher named national Truman Scholar

    UTC's Robert Fisher named national Truman Scholar

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:31:34 GMT
    Robert Fisher, a Brock Scholar and Student Government Association President at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has been named a 2014 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.More
    Robert Fisher, a Brock Scholar and Student Government Association President at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has been named a 2014 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
    More
  • Skyler Bates' mission to become mobile

    Skyler Bates' mission to become mobile

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:20:02 GMT
    Although he's confined to a wheelchair 10-year-old Skyler Bates' story has inspired many. Born with Cerebral Palsy he's not allowed his disabilities to hold him back. Earlier this year he launched "Skyler's Anti Meth Fight" in honor of his brothers, River and Leeland Bates and to bring awareness to the tragedies of meth and addiction.More
    Although he's confined to a wheelchair 10-year-old Skyler Bates' story has inspired many. Born with Cerebral Palsy he's not allowed his disabilities to hold him back. Earlier this year he launched "Skyler's Anti Meth Fight" in honor of his brothers, River and Leeland Bates and to bring awareness to the tragedies of meth and addiction.
    More
  • Walker County Schools looking at school bus safety protocol

    Walker County Schools looking at school bus safety protocol

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:55:21 GMT
    There are questions left unanswered after 6-year-old Zackery Bryant was hit and killed by his school bus.More
    There are questions left unanswered after 6-year-old Zackery Bryant was hit and killed by his school bus.More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.