Ayasaki Hayate is only 16 years old when he's abandoned, leaving him to fend for himself against the yakuza, who are after his organs to settle his parents' massive gambling debt. Looking for a way to somehow acquire 157 million yen before he is cut up by gangsters, he stumbles upon a rich girl whom he can kidnap and ransom. The only problem: he's a terrible criminal, and ends up saving her life from other would-be kidnappers and apparently confesses his love for her. In order to work off his debt, the girl, Nagi (who is convinced that Hayate is in love with her), and her maid Maria (who knows otherwise), allow him to work as a butler at their mansion. Hayate's tenure as a butler is not easy, however, and is filled with talking tigers, homicidal robots, jealous relatives, and overarchingly, hilarity.