TODAY   |  December 06, 2013

Coffee shop collects food for man who stole tips

An Ohio coffee shop is showing compassion by starting a food drive for a man who stole from its tip jar. But some are arguing via social media that the food drive is rewarding bad behavior. TODAY’s Matt Lauer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> passing of nelson mandela . there's other stories making news around the world of course.

>> we think about his legacy of forgiveness and understanding. here's a story that may make you think in those areas. an ohio coffee shop is looking for a man that stole from their tip jar but they don't want to turn him into police. they want to help him. after security footage saw the man taking the money the store decided to host a food drive for him. heres what the shop's manager told our cleveland affiliate, wkyc.

>> we assume that if he was desperate enough to steal the tips that he is probably in desperate times. in the holiday spirit we just decided we're going to try to help the guy out.

>> nice.

>> i almost don't want to read this but apparently this act of kindness generated a debate on facebook. some are asking whether the coffee shop is rewarding bad behavior. but the first-person to donate food was the woman that served the man that day whose tips were taken. it's a beautiful example of mercy in action.

>> they can just do the right thing.