I want to share with you a story that is actually a rather embarrassing black mark on my life that I normally don’t talk about. However, I feel that if I share this story, about the time I got caught shoplifting, then perhaps somebody out there might read it and realize just how dumb it can be to fall victim to peer pressure. It’s okay to say no to some things. In the end, you will be better off for it. Don’t be scared to be an individual and stand out from the crowd. It’s usually those types of people who make the biggest differences in humanity.
The Time I Got Caught Shoplifting: A Lesson For Your Teenagers
When I was sixteen years old, I was running around with some, well, let’s say shady people. Now, I won’t say that they were the worst types of people. Most of them have grown up to be good people, but at the time they were into things that they shouldn’t have been into, and they took me along with them. I am not excusing myself either. I had the power to say no, too, but I felt I needed their acceptance to feel like one of the crowd.
Anyway, we were running around doing things we shouldn’t have been doing. I will freely admit that we stole things and pulled cruel pranks on people, things that were tasteless as well as illegal. So, one time, we were in a local convenience store after school. We came to this store quite often and, on one occasion or another, one of us would walk out with something that we didn’t pay for in our coats. On this day, I felt it was my turn. So, I stuck two candy bars in my coat pockets. Unbeknownst to me, the store manager was watching me from behind the drink cooler. He saw me and quickly had me brought back into the store when we started to leave. There I was, standing in the back of the store trying to explain myself to the store manager and, eventually, the local police.
I was scared beyond belief. I shook like a leaf in a windstorm. I didn’t know what to say and, what was the scariest thing of all, was that I didn’t know how to explain this to my parents. They had always thought of me as the good kid. I had never done anything wrong (that they knew of) and now here I was caught just plain stealing.
When the police arrived, the cop asked me how old I was. When I told him I was sixteen, he responded, “Just old enough to go to jail.” I was dumbfounded. My throat was dry, my hands wringing wet with sweat and my heart was pounding, throbbing in my ears like a big bass drum.
I was going to jail.
Fortunately, he didn’t arrest me. He took me straight to the Magistrate’s office, where they gave me a ticket and set me up with a court date. Afterwards, I had to walk back to my high school and figure out a ride home, since I had been riding with my so-called friends, who took off the moment I got stopped. Fortunately, my dad thought that I was staying after school for a function and came to pick me up. Unfortunately, I got to tell him on the way home that I had been caught shoplifting.
When I got back home, needless to say, my parents were very upset and disappointed. They sat me down and talked to me. I will never forget the tears in my mom’s eyes as she sat there wondering why I did this. My dad said something that has stuck with me all these years. He said, “I always thought that you were so good. I never dreamed of you doing anything like this. This has burst a huge bubble for me with you, and it is going to take a lot of time for you to repair it.”
My mom blamed herself. She said, “Where did I go wrong? Is is money you need? I would much rather give up my lunch money so that you could have a candy bar or two than for you to resort to stealing.”
I guess the thing that hurt me the most was when they brought my grandfather into it. We always called him Big Daddy. Dad said, “Big Daddy worships the ground you walk on. You are his favorite grandson. What do you think he is going to think when he finds this out?” That was more than I could handle. I broke down and started crying right then and there. Big Daddy was my idol, the man that I aspired to be. It still hurts to this day because he passed away not too long after that, and one of my last memories was of him driving me to my first day of community service for this crime.
I have never felt so ashamed.
I was sentenced to forty hours of community service, which I served in one week and my parents had to pay all court costs, about $300 total. I learned my lesson that day and I have never stolen anything since. I quit hanging out with that crowd and became a more responsible person. I am not perfect by any means, and of course I still make mistakes on a daily basis. However, we are supposed to learn from our mistakes, and I did learn from that one. I am here now to teach someone else my lesson.
I hope and pray that this helps someone out there from doing the same stupid thing that I did. Please, if you are hanging out with people who want you to do things that you know are wrong for to earn their acceptance, stop hanging out with them today. At least don’t be scared to tell them no. That one event changed the course of my life in many ways. I was lucky that it made me a better person. Others may not be that lucky. It’s best to walk away from it now than to be stuck paying for it later.
Have You Ever Been Caught Shoplifting?
Have you ever been caught shoplifting or doing anything else illegal? How did it turn out for you? Did you learn any valuable lessons from the experience? If so, we would love to hear about it in the comments below.