Widow wonders: Will golf course do the right thing?
Posted June 4, 2013
Updated June 5, 2013
A lot of people love to escape on the links.
Henry Smith was one of them. An avid golfer, he had a platinum membership at the Riverwood Golf Club in Clayton.
He was a member for more than a decade – then he got sick.
Cancer put Smith in the hospital for a month before he died in early May.
“When the doctors told us on April 29 that these are your options, and you need to consider them, there’s a lot of things that go through your head that you really don't want to think about,” said Tammie Smith, Henry’s widow.
“But knowing that you're losing an income and what you have ahead of you – your husband's been in the hospital for a month, insurance only pays so much. So I was hoping to cancel the membership.”
The monthly membership cost: $211.
Tammie Smith knew Riverwood had a 30-day cancellation policy. But considering the circumstances, she thought the club managers would help.
"I had one individual tell me that rules are rules and we can't help you,” she said. “I had another individual tell me that once it's gone to accounting, there's nothing I can do about it.
She added, “I couldn't argue with them, it's legally 30-day notice. But you would think that, just being human about it."
Five On Your Side called Riverwood Golf Club and left a message for manager Keith Heiner. He called the next day saying he mailed a check two days earlier.
Ironically, that afternoon, Smith said she “came home and opened the door, and it was in our front door.”
Smith feels there's something to be learned from the situation.
"There are sensitive issues out there that could be handled in a different way," she said.
The chief operating officer of the Fred Smith Co., which owns Riverwood Golf Club, told WRAL News on Tuesday that he actually approved the refund 12 days before it was hand-delivered to her on the day that 5 On Your Side called.
He said maybe the company could have done a better job communicating that to her.