Friday, February 3, 2012

Seeking Honest People

Thieves and scoundrels, that's what they are. May they be cursed with misfortune and may all they stole slip from them, giving them no prosperity, but only grief.
Thieves stole Darling's purse, which included her wallet, driver's license, credit cards and <gasp> her new iPhone 4S, which they promptly turned off so it couldn't be tracked.
And they have no parking lot camera.
What bothers me most is that Darling blames herself. That's ludicrous. She had her purse in the basket at the 99 cent store, loaded the car, forgot the purse and drove off. Within minutes she came back, realizing she forgot her purse and it was gone.
Some people will jump on that and say that she's to blame, but wait a second! If I found a purse in a cart, I'd take it into the store, totally untouched, and turn it in. If any of my children found it, they would turn it in. Any honest person would do so. Only a thief takes what doesn't belong to them.
This wasn't Darling's fault.

My brothers won't know this story first-hand, since it happened in Rhode Island and I was in second grade, so my youngest brother probably wasn't even born yet. I don't know where they were when this incident happened, but I was the only one with Mom.
A thief stole my mother's purse. I was there, which is probably what scared her the most. We were downtown in Rhode Island, and I don't know what that meant back then, but we had to drive, so it wasn't in walking distance. My Mom got me in the front seat of the car, passenger side. This was the days before car seats and child safety laws, and we probably didn't even have seat belts. She went around to the driver's side and slid onto the vinyl front car seat behind the steering wheel. Just as she went to put the key into the ignition a guy ran up to my side of the car, reached through the open window, grabbed her purse from between us and took off down the sidewalk. Mom was shocked and frightened out of her wits. I remember she cried for quite a little bit before she managed to start the car and get us home.
This wasn't us, but could have been
We pulled into our driveway and our elderly neighbor, Mr. Mancini, saw that Mom was upset and probably figured she was crying since her makeup was undoubtedly smeared. She told him what happened and I distinctly recall watching Mr. Mancini's face cloud with anger. I always knew him as a kind guy next door who trimmed his hedges and kept his yard nice and neat and tolerated me and my friends running through the neighborhood playing Cowboys and Indians. We never set foot in his yard, though. We knew better than that.
Still I had never seen Mr. Mancini look so angry. He gave my Mom a hug and calmed her down, then said he'd take care of it. Somehow that made Mom feel better, so life was back to normal for me.
Here's the thing, and I distinctly recall this. Mom had only fifty cents in her purse. Now, I'll grant you that fifty cents in the early sixties was worth more than it is today, but that's still not a lot. That was all the money she had. I'm sure that Mom, like Darling, was more upset over the contents than the money (although Darling had about $300 with her).
Later that day Mr. Mancini came over and told Mom that the problem was taken care of and it would never happen to her again in this town. I don't know if she got her purse and fifty cents back, but Mr. Mancini was her hero that day. Truthfully, he was my hero too. He made Mom feel better and solved a major crime spree.

Darling couldn't even report the theft. She was technically in Houston, so when she called to report the theft a recording told her to go to the web site and follow the directions to fill out the form. No personal interaction at all. Not that I blame them. I suspect there are thousands of small thefts every day in Houston.
Diogenes seeking honesty
Still, there are hours of hassle with the banks and phone calls to make to stop credit cards. Of course they have her Driver's license, right from her wallet. The thieves also have access to her social security number and mine because they are on our insurance cards. Identity theft is a distinct possibility in the future. Oh, and we need to contact the Passport office to let them know also, just in case someone tries to get a new passport with the stolen information and id cards.
If the world was full of honest people, none of this would be an issue. But it isn't. Not here, not in Belize, not in Rhode Island. I'm looking for a world of honesty, and I don't see it (especially not in an election year!).
I can't track Darling's iPhone. The thieves knew that if it was turned on it would allow me to track them (thanks for advertising that feature so well, Apple™!). I'm not sure what I would do if I could track them. I'm pretty sure Mr. Mancini would know, though.

1 comment:

  1. Is it possible that Mr. Mancini of my memory is the same man who became mayor of North Providence, RI? It's possible!