Two kinds of thieves
My mother, who is 92 and uses a walker, was pushing a cart full of her groceries to her car. A man followed her. When she opened the trunk to put in her groceries, he opened the hood and appeared to remove something.
He told her there was something seriously wrong with her car and she needed an $8500 part to fix it, which he just happened to have.
He escorted her to the ATM, which luckily had a $200 daily limit. My mother gave the man her $200. He yelled and fumed that his wife wouldn’t like it that he had sold this $8500 part for $200 but he would fix her car.
He walked her back to her car, re-opened the hood, appeared to put something in, and went away.
My mother told the store manager. He said she should have come to him before going to the ATM. She was feeling threatened. She thought she had to go to the ATM with the man who had her car part. She does not know how to fix cars. She did not know if her car would start without that part, if he had actually taken something. She didn’t feel confident enough to get into her car and see if it starts.
She was picturing calling AAA, waiting for hours, having her car towed to a shop, where they would want more than $200 to replace the stolen part.
Meanwhile, in Philly, I put out boxes of old clothing and a VCR that still works for Big Brothers Big Sisters on their pick-up day in my neighborhood. I clearly labeled the boxes with BBBS signs. When I came back in the middle of the day, half the boxes were missing, and the remaining boxes had been opened. At the end of the day, all the boxes were gone, and there was no receipt from BBBS.
I was giving this stuff away anyway. All I was robbed of was my tax deductible receipt.
My mother was robbed of real cash on her limited income, and her dignity – knowing she was taken advantage of by a criminal.