Last week, O’Toole’s made a post calling for information on two customers who came in for lunch, and left carrying one of several rugs bearing the business logo inside the restaurant. When employees noticed a rug was missing, it didn’t take long to find the culprits on security footage.
“It was kind of funny – one guy walked out wearing the rug like a cape, so I called him ‘O’Toole’s Man,'” said O’Toole’s co-owner Michael Prestidge. “I was trying to be lighthearted about it, but I really wanted that carpet back.”
A few days later, the restaurant has the rug back – along with an unexpected bonus. On Sunday, a rolled-up rug matching the description of the lost one was found waiting by the front door when employees came in to get ready for the day ahead. At first, it seemed like the rug-turned-cape had been returned to its proper place.
Then, an hour later, an anonymous Schenectady man showed up – with another O’Toole’s rug. Prestidge said he was told the man saw the restaurant’s Facebook post, as “O’Toole’s Man” had gone somewhat viral. When he saw it, he recognized one of the photographed customers as his own neighbor. He got the rug back and drove it up from Schenectady – and didn’t stay long.
“I offered him a drink and a chance to talk about it, so he sat down at the bar with a beer. Then the restaurant got busy and I had to go help,” Prestidge said. “Before I got a chance to talk to him, he downed the beer and left.”
Prestidge said that taking the rug probably didn’t take a lot of waiting for heads to be turned. It was taken from the vestibule space between two sets of double doors – the same ones all visitors pass through when entering and leaving. No employees would have seen it happen.
Meanwhile, the other rug is the solution to an older, similar mystery. O’Toole’s lost one of its logo-adorned rugs once before, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prestidge believes that the rug’s owner decided it was time to return what was taken after seeing the post going around.
“He once had and awkward moment, just to see how it feels,” the restaurant wrote about the wayward rug on Facebook. “He lives vicariously through himself. Cuba imports cigars from him. In Museums, he is allowed to touch the art. He tips an astonishing 100%. Now he is back where he belongs in the O’Toole’s foyer.”
O’Toole’s celebrates 32 years in business this week.