Guilty soul sends $500 to a Nebraska bar to right a 45-year-old wrong

Photo: Michael Burrell (iStock)

Friends, I am doing some soul-searching today as a result of this story. In fact, maybe we could all take a moment to reflect on our past mistakes—not to dwell on them, but to realize that no matter how much time has passed, there is likely still an opportunity to make things right.

If you need convincing, take this story of a Lincoln, Nebraska, bar called Zoo Bar, which on its recent 46th anniversary received an envelope with $500 cash inside. The cash, according to Lincoln’s 1011 Now news station, was a mea culpa from someone who broke the bar’s sign—45 years ago. The letter, a photo of which appears on 1011 Now’s website, reads: “45 years ago I broke the Zoo Bar sign. Here is my restitution.” The letter was unsigned, and the sign-breaker remains anonymous. (The bar owner, for his part, has only worked there a mere 33 years and says anyone who would even remember the sign-breaking incident is dead.)

Advertisement

We can only imagine the decades of torment this incident apparently created for the person who’d broken the sign. Was the $500 a sort of death-bed confession? Part of the “making amends” portion of a 12-step program? Just a kind gesture from someone who came into unexpected money? (Reminder: Sending cash in the mail isn’t advisable.)

In the spirit of the Zoo Bar apologist, and in the interest of enjoying a clean spiritual slate, I’d like to make the following apologies to restaurants and bars I’ve wronged—none of them will be receiving $500, unfortunately:

  • I didn’t tip the washroom attendant at a Hard Rock Cafe in Florida 13 years ago because I didn’t have cash on me.
  • I tried to carve my initials into the side of a booth at the IHOP on Route 22 in Springfield, New Jersey, as a child, but I think I only finished the “K” part.
  • I took two free tampons from the restroom of a sports bar in Missoula last winter, even though I didn’t need them at the moment.

Wow, that felt really good. Anyone else need to get something off their chest?

Share This Story

About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.