Monday, July 28, 2008

It's kinda like Boonie and Clyde... only more redneck... and today

So I went to one of Columbia's prestigious grocery stores (Gerbes if you were wondering) and I witnessed one of those moments that you see in movies and wonder if it actually happens. I was hanging out in the liquor section (because that's where they keep the pre-cooled Redbull. Come on now, I'm not a lush.) and this 13-14 year old kid is hanging out looking really shady.

He has an oversized red and black basketball jersey and cargo pants on. I make my selection, and as I'm doing it a manager screams, "HEY!" and scares the bejesus out of me. I turn to look and the shop keeper is pointing to the kid who has shoved a bottle of Evan Williams whiskey and a cheap vodka I've never seen before in his cargo pockets, and takes off running toward the back of the store. My only thought was, if you're going to steal liquour at least steal good liquour.

Customers are already forming little groups to talk about their little bit of excitement for the day. About three customer service reps, a produce guy, and a cart guy take off after the little shoplifter in the back of the store.

I checkout and leave the store. As I get into the car, I see the shirtless shoplifter running across the street with the bottles wrapped in his shirt. I notice his destination, a beat up blue car, with two redneck parents in the driver and passenger seat. The dad has his shirt off, long flowing mullet hair, faded tattoos covering his body, and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. The mom had ratty hair and lack of makeup and she was looking in the one rearview mirror on the car (like I have room to talk) for her son.

The kid jumped in the car and the unpleasantly still sober family drove off.

I briefly considered going Batman on them and boxing the car in, waiting for authorities to show up. Then the faces of the kids I taught at Lighthouse Care Center popped into my head and I started thinking about the stories in their files. Parents mercilessly beating them with belts, pots, pans, chains, fists, and baseball bats. I knew that this kid getting into that car with that cheap alcohol might help him escape a beating for a night. I know that parents that would send their children to shoplift for them, don't take kindly to kids that fail. I let them go, and didn't even call into the store to tell them where the shoplifter was. I thought perhaps I saved this kid for a night.

If I was Batman, and had a costume I could've chased the kid down an alleyway and explained to him why it was wrong. Perhaps give him an option of safety with D.S.S. and the authorities. Twenty years down the line, if this fantasy follows normal comic book progression, this kid would grow up to be a superhero too because I gave him a second chance.