75 Years After Committing Crime as Teen, Man Sends City $50 with Apology Note

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“Young and dumb” is an often-used phrase to describe the regrettable actions of shortsighted youth.

Teenagers are not always the most considerate or responsible, and while that may make for some exciting stories, it can also leave a person with regret at the end of their life.

But few would be as conscientious as this person. While it’s unclear whether the elderly person in question is male or female, most people have been saying “him” and “he.”

Midvale Mayor Robert Hale was surprised when a short, handwritten letter came to his attention. The tri-fold paper cradled a 50-dollar bill and told a repentant tale.

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“To: Midvale Public Works Dept.,” the letter began.

“I am enclosing this $50 to pay for a stop sign I took many years ago when I was a thoughtless teenager. Stupid might be a better word for it.”

“Anyway, I’m trying to remember the things I’ve done wrong, and try to do restitution as well as I can.”

“I am almost ninety years old, and all these things have made me sorrow over the few things I did when I was young. I wish to be forgiven by the Lord, so I am sorry, and truly repentant.”

“Please use the money for a stop sign, OK? Thank you very much. Sincerely, A sorrowful citizen.”

The heartfelt note touched the mayor. It’s impossible to tell exactly when the sign referred to in the letter was stolen, but Hale thinks it’s probably been somewhere around 75 years ago.

“He paid more than $50 in 75 years he’s been carrying that burden on his shoulder,” Hale said. A guilty conscience can drain you, and this individual more than did the time for the crime.

The Midvale City Twitter account posted the text of the note, along with a description containing the few pieces of information they had on the sender.

“We received the sweetest anonymous letter from a 90-year-old Texas gentleman, and just had to share with y’all,” the description read.

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“He’s cleared it up a far as we’re concerned. We can scratch out that line on the account receivable now,” Hale said.

Hale mentioned that there was a way to narrow down the area the sender might have come from, but finding the exact person and reassuring them that they’ve been forgiven would take a lot more work.

The $50 has been put in the appropriate account to pay for a replacement sign in the future, just as requested.

With all the attention this story has been receiving, hopefully somewhere out there, a conscience is at peace.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking