I’ve always considered myself to be an honest person.
The other day, though, I started recounting how many times I’ve accidentally stolen something.
Most recently, it was an incident in a big-box department store. I was in a hurry, trying to buy something for my husband’s birthday, as well as a few more items for my family’s Easter baskets.
I didn’t get a cart, so I started piling things over my arm. I was impulse shopping, so the stack got bigger. A store employee even asked me if I needed a cart, and I said no, I was fine.
When I checked out and pulled my billfold from my purse, I also pulled out a set of athletic socks.
“Oh, and I need to pay for these, too!” I said, much to the sale clerk’s surprise — and mine. I have no idea how they got in my purse. I probably absentmindedly stuck them in there when I reached for my phone.
Last Christmas, after a particularly tiring marathon-shopping trip, I went to the car with two big sacks — and a polar fleece, still on the hanger, in my hand. I ran back in like my hair was on fire, hollering to anyone who would listen that I was NOT stealing!
But how would a security guard know the difference between a crazy woman and a thief?
It makes my knees weak to think about being arrested for shoplifting (or anything).
Another time, I was talking a mile a minute, as usual, to some store clerks as I tried on bracelets. As I drove home from the store, I almost ran off the road when I realized I was STILL wearing the unpaid-for bracelets. When I called the store, the woman laughed. “We knew you’d be back,” she said.
Good thing. I’ll use her as one of my witnesses at the trial.
The other night, my husband and I were coming home from taking our granddaughter out to eat, and we were slowing down as we came to a stop sign on our street. I looked down on the road at the same time my husband said, “Do you need that?”
He thought it was a nice notebook. I thought it was a greeting card at first. “Wait, let me out; I think it’s a cellphone,” I said.
I hopped out and picked up an iPad mini. It didn’t have a scratch on it. I couldn’t believe no one had run over it.
I tried to get on it to see if I could find the owner, but it had a security code. There was a picture of some young boys on the homepage. They looked slightly familiar to me, but not to my husband.
My husband suggested I post it on our neighborhood property owners association website, which I did. I even asked a neighbor, whose daughter I had seen drive off that evening.
I got an online message that if the cover was pink with marshmallows, it belonged to the daughter of a couple we knew around the corner.
I put on my house shoes and drove over there. The couple were thrilled to have it back. Their daughter had put it on the bumper of their car while she was playing in the flowers in the yard. It fell off the bumper as they drove away from their house. We drove home from our dinner out just minutes after it happened. (Those boys in the picture were actors on Stranger Things.)
My mother also had a lost-and-found incident last week. She and her girlfriends were at the races in Hot Springs, and my mom lost a winning ticket when she took it and her program to the bathroom (I don’t know why).
She went to the window where she’d bought the ticket and told the woman, “I guess you’re not my lucky charm anymore; I lost my winning ticket.”
Oh, yes, the woman said — someone had turned in the winning ticket to her.
Are you kidding me? Now that’s an honest person.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.