Police officer pays bill after someone prank calls large order at restaurant

Posted at 12:08 PM, Apr 01, 2020

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Owners of a Vietnamese restaurant in Utah said they received a call for an $100 order the other night, but when they called the customer back to say their food was ready, the customer never answered.

The prank phone call came at a time when small businesses are especially hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tammy Nguy is the manager of the restaurant, Sumo, and works alongside her mom and dad who own the establishment.

“We aren’t even able to have employees right now,” said Nguy. “We laid everyone off.”

The $100 order included about 10 to 14 sushi rolls, made with fresh fish shipped to the restaurant from the night before.

The order made up half of the family's income for that day, said Nguy, so you can imagine her surprise when she learned the customer wasn’t answering their calls.

“We tried calling them on the restaurant phone and they started blocking it,” said Nguy. “I tried calling from the manager line and they said, 'Oh yeah, we’re going to come up and pick up the order.'”

But they never came, and Nguy said they never answered the phone again. Devastated, Nguy called police.

Officer Danny Christiansen with the West Valley City Police Department responded to the call.

“I knew there was no way I could fix their problem,” said Christiansen.

Thinking of what he could do to help, Christiansen said he decided he would surprise the family by purchasing the order.

“It was just upsetting to know they had prepared all of this food that was never going to get paid for,” said Christiansen.

What makes Christiansen’s kindness even more notable — he said he’s not a sushi guy.

“I was able to provide some meals for some of my coworkers,” said Christiansen. “It felt good and it helped me go about my day with a lot better of an attitude.”

For the Nguys, it meant their restaurant could be open for another day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart,” said Nguy. “He has definitely helped a small business see much more faith.”

This story was originally published by Erin Cox at KSTU.