If you stole something in the ancient world, you really didn’t want to get caught. The old Hebraic law had some of the least dire consequences, only requiring a malefactor to pay several times the value of the thing pilfered.
Other societies would sentence thieves to hard labor or asset confiscation. Some would even remove fingers, a hand, or an arm.
Today’s sentences aren’t quite as grisly, but they can have consequences that last almost as long, including lengthy imprisonment and criminal records. While it’s rare for a thief to receive a measure of grace, one Toledo, Ohio, convenience store owner showed surprising favor to someone who tried to steal from him.
According to the New York Daily News, Jitendra “Jay” Singh owns a 7-Eleven. Like many owners, he also operates the property.
On April 7, Singh was in the store’s back room when a teenager got caught shoplifting. He instructed one of his employees to call 911. He then confronted the young man in an encounter that quickly began to unfold in an entirely unexpected way.
Shopper Cedric Bishop was in the 7-Eleven at the time and witnessed the whole exchange. He wrote on Facebook, “The owner made him empty out his pockets.
“He had a lot of munchies. The young man said he only wanted to feed himself and his little brother.” Signh quickly told his employee who was speaking with a 911 operator to hang up the phone.
Though Bishop recalled how “there was another man in the store that offered to pay for the merchandise the young man took,” Singh wouldn’t have any of it. He had another solution in mind.
“The owner said, ‘This is not food. You want food? I give you food,’” Bishop wrote.
In a move that must’ve made the young thief’s jaw drop, Singh began to gather together more substantial grub than chips and candy.
He grabbed a pizza, a sausage roll and even a two-liter container of soda. Then he gave the whole thing to the young man free of charge.
“It’s not going to make any difference to me if I give him some food, because we make a lot of food, we sell a lot of food,” Singh explained to WTVG. “If he goes to jail, then he’s definitely not going to do anything good in life.”
Neera Singh seconded her husband’s sentiments, adding, “I’m really proud of him, and it is the true self of himself. I know him, he’s very kind.
“We are part of the community, and we have to help the community. It is a part of our job.”
Bishop even found himself motivated to help by Singh’s generosity. “I thought that was an amazing thing the owner did,” he wrote.
“I was so touched [that] I gave the young man 10 dollars. Some young people just need to know that someone cares.”