I visit a local Dollar Store from time to time. Some items (like dog poop bags) don't seem to warrant a larger expenditure; no, not even for cute pink and blue ones with little paw prints festooned across the plastic. Although all the items are $1.00 or $1.25, the residential area a short distance away is full of million dollar homes. It is the most expensive part of the large city I live in. (I live with my family on the less expensive outskirts of this area).
As I approached from the parking lot I noticed a couple of boys, maybe 16 or 17, standing outside talking. One held a skateboard in his hand apparently prepared to wait for his friend who turned and walked into the store just ahead of me. In a brief glance I noticed that he was a nice looking boy with dark tousled hair and an fresh, open face.
A short time later I came across him in the aisle where craft supplies were displayed. He was standing in front of the scrapbooking and other craft supplies looking a little agitated. Perhaps he had been sent on an errand by his mother and couldn't find the desired item, I postulated. But at the back of my consciousness a niggling thought was working its way forward. He wasn't really scanning the display; he kept sending glances my way. I formed the distinct impression that he was waiting for me to leave. Just body language but it spoke as clearly as any words.
He planned to take something, to steal something, and didn't want want any witnesses. I wavered for a moment and then headed to the check-out and completed my purchase. Should I have said anything? What? I ended up leaving just behind the young man and watched him pass something to his friend outside who was waiting patiently. So smooth, so slick, that hand-off. The friend stuffed a small item into his pocket and skateboarded away to the left while the perpetrator--no longer so charmingly innocent looking-- headed to the right. As I drove out of the small plaza and waited for the light so I could turn right at the intersection, there stood the two of them on the sidewalk, smiling and talking, no doubt pleased with their dollar store score. I could hardly stand to look at them but couldn't tear my gaze away and I was glad when the light changed and I drove on. So much for sweet tousleheaded young men. And my next thought--does your mother know what you do?