Instead of calling the cops on a teenage shoplifter, this 7-Eleven store owner chose to exhibit compassion towards the young thief, instead of filing any shoplifting charges.
Jitendra Singh, also known as Jay, is a 7-Eleven store owner at Toledo, Ohio. While he was working at the back office one weekend, an employee alerted him about a suspicious young man in the store who appeared to be stealing.
Jay checked the surveillance and watched as the teen stealthily grabbed small items from the shelves – such as gum and candy – and put it inside his pockets.
The shop owner decided to confront him, and by the time that he got to the main store area, the teen was already at the counter paying for a few items. He told the cashier to call 911.
“I asked him, ‘Take out whatever you have in your pocket,’ so he took out one of the items,” Jay told CNN.
But from the surveillance footage, Jay knew that he had more. He asked the teen to empty the rest of his pockets or he would have to call the cops.
Jay asked the young man why he was stealing.
“He said, ‘I’m stealing for myself. I’m hungry, and I’m doing it for my younger brother,’” Jay said to WTVG.
By this time, the cashier already had a 911 operator on the phone, but Jay ordered him to hang up. Then, the owner said something that nobody in the store expected to hear.
“I said, ‘Well that’s not food. You’re stealing gum and candies. That’s just something for munching,’” Jay told CNN. “I said, ‘If you’re hungry, ask me. I’ll give you food.’”
His plan of reporting the incident to the police changed, instead, he sent the young man back to the aisles to grab some food that is much more filling – chicken, sausage rolls, and pizza. He gave all these items to the teen for free.
When asked why he sent the shoplifter home instead of pressing charges, he responded:
“When he said, ‘I’m hungry and that’s why I’m stealing,’ I said OK, he has some genuine problem. He’s not a thief who’s going and stealing stuff and selling it. At least (he) won’t go to jail. Once you go to jail, you’ll have a criminal record later in life. You’re not going to be able to get any good job or anything.”
Jay has owned the 7-Eleven store on Upton and Berdan for nearly five years. He says that as much as he can, he tries to help others.
Cedric Bishop, a customer who witnessed the incident, was amazed by what the store owner did. The act inspired him to give the boy $10 from his own pocket, just to let him know that “someone cares”.
He posted about the situation on his Facebook and the story touched thousands of people, garnering over 1,800 shares and 4,400 likes.
His wife of nearly 30 years, Neera Singh, says that the good deed wasn’t out of character for her husband.
“I’m really proud of him and it is the true self of himself. I know him, he’s very kind.”
She says that Jay has always been a “caring person”, and that she feels proud of the way he handled the situation.
“We are part of the community, and we have to help the community. It is a part of our job.”
Jay didn’t expect that his act of kindness would resonate with so many people, saying that he only did what he thought was right.
“Customers are now coming back and saying, ‘You’re a good guy and you did a good thing.’ For me, it was not a big deal. … I did what any normal human being would’ve done in that situation.”
After doing what he believed was best, Jay hopes that the teen would pay it forward to someone else down the road who would need his help.
Watch the clip below to learn more about this story.
It was truly an exceptional act from an outstanding man. Instead of going for what most people would, Jay decided to teach the young man a lesson about compassion and honesty. Hopefully, Jay’s forgiving heart and generosity impacts the teen’s life and principles in a positive way, and that he never resorts to stealing ever again.
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