Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Shoplifting with heart

I normally write uplifting posts, but today something happened and even though I have seen this before I find myself fighting back the tears all morning and as I write this.

It’s hard to start writing this because everything happened so fast, but I’ll start as I walked into the shopping centre.

It was around 8:30am and raining so I wasn’t selling my Big Issue magazines, I decided to go to my local shopping centre for a packet of smokes, food and things.

As I walked through the centre I noticed a boy walking differently, his head right down as if trying to hide while walking fast past me and heading for the exit doors, I remembered him as he was a son of a family I helped about 3 years ago with food and a double bed (if I remember right).

As he reached the glass sliding doors two men ran past me yelling for the boy to stop and caught up to him very quickly. They opened his backpack, searched and then took hold of the boy each holding and arm and walking him past me and to the shop. (I don’t want to name the store because of what happens).

Now I’m not stupid, I knew right away from what I saw he had just been caught for shoplifting. I remembered thinking what a shame the kid was younger then my little girl who is 12 year old, but I knew he came from a poor family and felt sorry for him.

I was shopping in the store when I came across one of the guys that had caught the boy, I asked “Mate I know the family I helped them a few years ago, if you don’t mind me asking what was he stealing” this guy replied “exercise books, pens and  things like that”

I have to say my mind raced a thousand miles an hour and right away I thought school had just started and he was stealing school supplies because his parents didn’t.

There was a few more words said but in the end I asked to speak to the manager talking to him.

The manager told me they were not charging him because of his age but was barring him from the store for life. I asked the manager to keep whatever he took in a bag and I would buy all of it if it was for school. Next thing I know the boy and I are talking and I asked what he took and why? In a very nice manner,  I did this because if it wasn’t for school then I’d walk away. He pulled out all these stationery supplies and said these were from him for school, but not all the items in the bag, I asked what about the other things left? What he said next made me angry and feeling so sorry for him I wanted to cry, he said “My sister and I get teased at school so I got them for her” it wasn’t just what he said it was the way he said it, he was angry, sad and embarrassed about stealing.  I couldn’t count how many times he said “sorry”.

Kids tease these kids for being poor or having well let’s just say their parents couldn’t  because of income or have some addiction and didn’t get them the same items as other kids at their school.

This broke my heart. Okay now I am tearing up as I write this.

At the time trying not to tear up I took him straight to the cashier and placed everything he tried to steal on the counter and kept telling him I’m going to get everything you need but you have to do something for me and that’s you have to do your best to get A’s on you report card. He kept thanking me and trying to convince me he was a good kid.

I’m embarrassed to write this next bit but it’ll show you all why I help people and why it brings tears writing it.

The checkout lady scanned everything and it came to a total of $63 and change, when she said that I felt so bad because I have nothing in the bank and only $57and change on me. I turned to the boy and said I didn’t have enough and I’m sorry but he would have to put a few things back. He looked very sad, but started picking items to put back, the thing that got me was he never picked one item that was for his sister.

Now you see why this is effecting me so much. I’m sorry to write such a bad posting but really if you look at it like I do it’s inspirational, this boy is teased at school for being poor and when asked to put something back he still gets everything for his sister.  This kid is an inspiration to me.

P.S Today I quit smoking.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a great day.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011


  1. Great story Grant - im so glad you helped the young man and his sister

  2. Grant, your most recent post brought tears to my eyes. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your stories.