Three-Year-Old Cashier Counts Change Correctly

Three-year-old Gordon Tan loves helping out at his family's restaurant — he works the cash register.

"He can do the credit-card machine too," said his mother, Tiffany Lei, who owns the Formosa Gardens (search) restaurant in New Iberia, La., with Gordon's father, Jason Tan.

Things were busy a couple of months ago when Gordon, about to turn 3, first climbed up on a chair, took customers' bills, punched up their totals, took money and counted out the correct change, according to the Daily Iberian newspaper. He's been doing it ever since.

The toddler can tell credit cards from debit cards — swiping them and entering the four-digit code to complete the sale — and tells his parents he doesn't need help at the register.

Customers "just watch him, and they're kind of amazed and shocked," said Formosa Gardens waitress Nellie Derouen. "Then they count their money and find out he got it right."

When Gordon's not manning the cashbox, he walks around the restaurant helping with other operations, said customer Patricia Durand. He runs to the back of the store to tell his parents how many customers just walked in — and since he knows how many can sit at each table, he seats the customers as well.

When Formosa Gardens runs out of shrimp — "shah shah" in Chinese — Gordon runs into the kitchen and yells, "No shah shah!" When the phone rings, he answers and makes hand signals to his parents to pick it up on the other extension.

Jason Tan said one family visits the restaurant just to watch his son at work.

"They bring him presents," he said.

Gordon's service-sector career may soon come to an end, however. He's starting day care.

Missing: One Front Porch, Last Seen on House

Oklahoma cops are investigating a house burglary — the theft of part of a house, that is.

Someone stole the front porch off a house in the town of Choctaw last week, owner Shawna Miller told TV station KWTV of Oklahoma City.

"My daughter and I started laughing," Miller said about the moment she saw the facade of her rental property suddenly exposed. "Somebody needed a porch — and decided to take mine."

Miller got a call from a prospective tenant who saw her ad for a house for rent, drove by for a look and discovered something big was missing.

In 25 years on the force, Choctaw Police Chief Billy Carter's never seen anything like it stolen.

"Lots of lawn mowers, a few vehicles, some motorcycles," he said, "but never a porch."

Miller's police statement simply says "she last saw her porch on the front of her rent house."

Police are asking neighbors if they saw or heard anything associated with the theft of a porch — such as chain saws, hammers and a really large truck.

"To be honest," Carter admitted, "I don't know how big a priority [recovering the porch] will be."

Miller's still showing the house, although she takes potential tenants in the back door since the front step's now a bit steep.

She also plans to rebuild the porch, although she may take some preventive measures.

"I think we're gonna go back to concrete this time," she laughed, "instead of wood."

— Thanks to Out There reader Rita H.

Burglar Answers Home Phone During Break-In

RIVERDALE, Utah (AP) — An alleged cookie-snatching burglar just couldn't help answering the phone at the victim's home — twice.

Police Detective Kevin Fuller said a 23-year-old Roy man broke into a Riverdale home Friday afternoon, and is suspected of stealing a power drill and cookies.

The man's undoing came when he answered the phone when it rang.

The caller, the homeowner's daughter, immediately hung up and called her mother to tell her someone was in the house.

Then her mother called, and the man not only answered again but identified himself as the man she kicked out of the house the previous night.

Police, who took the man into custody as he was walking in the neighborhood, did not know why he was asked to leave the house on Thursday.

Fuller said the suspect admitted stealing the drill, but "he maintains he bought the cookies and left them there from the day before."

— Thanks to Out There readers Jessica S. and David and Jessica F.

Boss Dies and No One Notices

COLFAX, Calif. (AP) — In the hours before he was found dead, two people saw the body of Colfax editor A. Thomas Homer on the office floor, but neither raised an alarm because they thought he was sleeping, officials said.

Homer, 60, was discovered dead by a secretary who arrived at the Colfax Record (search) office Monday morning.

But a janitor twice saw Homer's body on Sunday, and a woman who dropped by the newspaper office also saw it early Monday, said Placer County (search) Sheriff's Sgt. John Addoms.

"It's an unusual thing that nobody would have investigated further," Addoms said. "The fact is, everyone thought he was asleep."

The janitor first saw Homer lying just inside the front door on Sunday morning, Addoms said, but wasn't worried because Homer frequently worked odd hours.

The janitor returned Sunday afternoon and cleaned the office, even picking up a plaque that had fallen off the wall and was lying 12 inches from Homer's feet, Addoms said.

"He shouted at [Homer] and believed he had made an audible noise back at him," Addoms said. "He believed he was still sleeping."

At 5 a.m. Monday, a woman dropped by the office and saw the body on the other side of the glass door, he said. She also knew Homer to work before or after hours and wasn't concerned.

It is unknown whether Homer was alive or dead when seen by either visitor, Addoms said. An autopsy showed that he had died of heart failure.

Candidate Urges Citizens to Vote Naked

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — You might say Ken Hechler would like to see voters streaking to the polls. Hechler's new slogan to get people to register and vote: "Vote Naked!"

The 89-year-old candidate for West Virginia secretary of state made the suggestion in an advertisement in the April 1 edition of Graffiti, a Charleston-based monthly tabloid.

The ad is the last in a series of four in which Hechler, a liberal Democrat who previously served as secretary of state from 1985 to 2001, pokes fun at himself and his campaign.

The first ad, in January, portrayed Hechler on a large motorcycle. In February, the ad featured a photograph of Hechler delivering a 2002 commencement address — in song — to Fairmont State College (search) graduates.

In March it was a picture of Hechler dressed as a SWAT commando and carrying a fly swatter, threatening to swat apathetic people who don't vote.

Hechler, who was a congressman from 1959 to 1977, said Monday he made the ads "to demonstrate that I can speak the language of young people, because too many political consultants tell candidates that kids don't pay any attention to them."

The primary is May 11.

Tumor Twice Woman's Weight Removed

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A woman whose 176-pound benign tumor was removed by an American surgeon and Romanian doctors was released from the hospital on Monday, 10 weeks after surgery.

Lucica Bunghez, 46, underwent several skin transplants to cover the part of her body affected by the removal of the giant tumor on Jan. 21, Realitatea TV reported.

"The goodness of the doctors and their smile gave me a breath of life," Bunghez told a news conference. "They gave me positive energy which took away three-quarters of my suffering."

Bunghez suffered from neurofibromatosis, or NF, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes disfiguring tumors to form on nerves throughout the body.

Her tumor covered much of her back and ran halfway down her thighs. Without it, she weighed 88 pounds. The growing tumor had absorbed blood and nutrients from her body like a giant parasite, doctors said.

Dr. Ioan Lascar, a Romanian, and Dr. McKay McKinnon, a plastic surgeon from Chicago, led the surgery team.

McKinnon offered his services for free after the Romanian government said it could not afford the $300,000 needed to send Bunghez to the United States for the surgery.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil

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