There’s an interesting verse in the biblical book of Proverbs that discusses theft. The conclusion it comes to might surprise you.
Proverbs 6:30-31 reads, “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold. He will give all the goods of his house.”
In other words, we can feel sympathetic toward an individual who pilfers in extreme circumstances. Yet that person will still have to face consequences.
A report out of Yale, Oklahoma, blended the sternness of that proverb with more than a little grace.
According to News 9 Now, Yale Police Chief Phillip Kelly got a shoplifting call from a Dollar General store on Nov. 20. It was an inconvenient day for him to respond.
HEARTWARMING: Yale Police Chief Phillip Kelly learned a woman was living in her car and was stealing food to help feed her family. He knew something had to be done. https://t.co/KknVNeP78L
— News 9 (@NEWS9) November 21, 2018
See, the police force had a designated day to deliver donated Thanksgiving meals, and that just happened to be the day. Yet the case ended up hardly requiring much legwork for Kelly.
When he arrived at the store, he reviewed the video. It showed a woman picking up merchandise that she hadn’t paid for.
Surprisingly, though, it also showed her putting it back before she left the establishment. Equally surprisingly, Kelly immediately recognized her.
His patrol car full of food, he sought out the woman. It turned out that she was living in her vehicle and was trying to take food for her family.
“I found the woman, and as I was talking to her, I told her, ‘You can’t go back in there. You know, you stole some food, and they don’t want you back in there,” Kelly said according to Mediaite.
I can’t imagine the awkwardness of such a conversation. Apparently, it hit both the woman and Kelly pretty hard, too.
“She started crying and that made me tear up,” Kelly said. “After I gave her the trespass warning, I thought to myself, ‘The only right thing to do is feed her.
“That’s the only human thing to do.” There was just one problem: All of the turkeys were accounted for.
But that didn’t stop the kind-hearted police chief of this small town. He drove to a nearby grocery store and bought everything the woman could need to celebrate Thanksgiving.
After he gave it to her, Kelly said the woman was overcome with emotion.
“She just couldn’t stop crying You know, and then [that] made me cry. … I’m supposed to be a tough cop and all, but it just gets you. There’s always somebody that needs help, that’s less fortunate than you, and by gosh, we’re going to help them.”
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