In the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, it can be easy to forget that we’re dealing with real people throughout the day–whether it’s the customers at your retail job, your coworkers, or the clerk at your local convenience store.
But for one compassionate 7-Eleven owner, basic human empathy remained front-and-center when he was confronted with a teenage boy who was caught red-handed trying to rob his store.
Jitendra “Jay” Singh has owned the store for about five years and was managing his convenience store in Toledo, Ohio over the weekend when one of his employees alerted him to a suspicious person shoving snacks into his pockets.
Singh watched the video surveillance monitors before telling the clerk to dial 911.
The store owner eventually decided to confront the would-be thief himself but was shocked by the young man’s response when asked to reveal the goods he had pocketed.
“He said, ‘I’m stealing for myself. I’m hungry, and I’m doing it for my younger brother,'” Singh told local news outlet WTVG.
At that point, Singh told his clerk to hang up the phone. He then urged the teen to collect more food–pizzas, chicken, prepared sandwiches, fruit, sausage rolls, and soda–so that he could bring them home, completely free of charge.
“It’s not going to make any difference to me if I give him some food because we make a lot of food, we sell a lot of food … If he goes to jail then he’s definitely not going to do anything good in life.”
Singh had been known to customers as a kind person, but his compassionate response to a case of petty shoplifting inspired customers who witnessed the good deed.
Regular customer Cedric Bishop was surprised by the incident, and posted about it on Facebook in a post that has since gone viral.
“The cashier had the 911 operator on the phone and the owner told her to hang up … The owner said ‘This is not food. You want food – I’ll give you food.’”
After Singh packed the food into several bags, Bishop himself gave the teen $10, noting that “some young people just need to know that someone cares.”
Bishop later told WTVG that Singh “has a big heart … he a great big heart.”
But Singh’s wife of nearly 30 years, Neera, wasn’t surprised by his good deed.
“I’m really proud of him and it is the true self of himself … I know him, he’s very kind.
We are part of the community, and we have to help the community … It is a part of our job.”
For Singh, the only thing that matters is that the teen “pays it forward” with his own act of generosity sometime in the future.
After all, for many of us, our good fortune is purely a matter of happenstance and can be very temporary–what matters is that we don’t forget what it’s like to struggle or be in a rough position, and to realize that we’re all in it together.
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