It's not easy being a single mother. Besides the social stigma that still exists, the judgmental attitudes, the sheer difficulty of finding the time to parent and work, there are the economic realities. Let's face it, not all fathers are helping out as much as they absolutely should financially, and that can leave the mom in the lurch. When one mom got desperate for the stuff she needed for her kids, she resorted to shoplifting. Definitely not an excuse, but it happened. However, after police were called to the scene -- where the mom was with her two children -- she got the surprise of her life.
Police were called to a K-Mart in West Virginia, and when they arrived they found a single mother who had shoplifted several items. But the items were clearly not for herself. In fact, the people she had stolen for were with her: Her 7-year-old daughter and her 2-year-old daughter. Said one of the officers:
She didn't take anything to benefit herself. She had only taken baby diapers, rash cream, and some clothes for her children, because she said she was going through kind of a rough divorce and her husband wasn't really helping out.
We all know how expensive diapers are!
The two cops, Ryan Willard and Duane Fields, were so touched they decided to buy the items for the woman. Now those are two men who were brought up right!
Wouldn't this be a great world if everyone occasionally reached out to help those in need? It's awesome that the cops, instead of sticking to the letter of the law, looked at the case individually for what it was -- a mom trying to help her babies, even though she was going the wrong way about it. We need more officers like this. We need more people like this.
The mom was so astonished and touched by what they did that she asked what she could do for them. Willard replied, "Try not to shoplift again."
K-Mart, however, did not drop the charges and the mom was fined $50. This is unfortunate since an arrest could prevent her from getting a job. But I realize that stores can't give away freebies to everyone who wants them or their shelves would be bare. But it would be helpful if a huge corporation like that could have some social outreach in their stores. Or point the mom to where she can get help. Her two daughters should not be watching her steal. She shouldn't be desperate enough that she has to steal.
And a big thank-you to those officers, eh? Being a cop isn't all about collaring bad guys and putting people in the clink. It's also about being good, honorable, and helpful. They seem to realize that.
What should have happened to this mom?
Image via garbagebabe42/Flickr