One night about eight years ago I was delivering pizza and my girlfriend (now my wife) had decided to ride with me that night.  The shop I was working at was very busy in those years, there are a few more restaurants competing in the area now. 

On this particularly busy night the other driver was a fellow I’ll call Chip.  He was an idiot and I’m sure he still is wherever he is now.  There was an agreement that when a driver returned from his previous deliveries he gets the next deliveries to go out the door, made perfect sense.  It was my turn at going out next and it was a perfect run of five deliveries, all close together, all of them would probably take no more than ten minutes in total to do.  The delivery cars were parked in an alley out behind the store.  I told Chip that I had to go out the front door of the restaurand and put a letter in the mailbox before it was emptied.  I was going to be back within ninety seconds to take those deliveries.

As soon as I was out of the restaurant Chip decided he would steal my perfect run of five deliveries and began to load them into his car.  By the time he loaded the first four in I guess the last order he needed had come out of the oven and he had them all in his precious Acura.  Chip had a very nice car and felt it was necessary to talk about every waking moment.  He also liked to make fun of my fifteen year old Toyota whenever possible. 

My girlfriend said she had never seen anybody move so quick as he loaded the pizzas in his car, he was determined that he was going to get out of there with my orders before I got back from the mailbox.  He jumped in the car, jammed it into reverse and floored it.  In his panic he didn’t notice that the business next door had their back door open.  It was a big metal door and it was a narrow alley.  The passenger side of his car hit the door, knocked the mirror off and left a five foot gash in the side of his car.  He had jumped out of the car and went into some sort of hysterics, kicking the big door shut and then kicking his car and looking at the damage in disbelief.

I was back in the restaurant by this time and cursing upon the discovery that Chip the idiot had stolen my deliveries and then headed toward the alley to give him a piece of my mind.  I had missed the incident by just seconds and I could just barely see him driving away.  My girlfriend was in the car crying from laughing so hard.  She had to wait about a minute to stop laughing so she could tell me what had happened.

I went from being mad to a state of great happiness that something bad happening to that tool.  Some people deserve a little payback sometimes.  If this same thing had happened to his precious car where he hadn’t been trying to screw me out of deliveries I might have even felt a little bit bad for him, he did love that car.

It stayed very busy that night so it was probably an hour before Chip and I were in the store together at the same time.  I didn’t even mention him stealing my deliveries and actually pretended to be concerned about his car.  I went out with him to take a look.  It was going to take a mirror, some body work and paint to get this car looking good again. It was hard to keep from laughing but I managed to keep a straight face.  His story was that somebody opened the door as he backed up and got him.  My girlfriend said the door had been open for twenty minutes before he hit it.

The next day before I went to work I went to the hardware store and got some of those sticky letters for putting your name on a mailbox.  I put the words “Caution Door May Open at Any Time” on the door in the alley.  When Chip came into work that night and noticed the door he was terribly offended for he assumed this was poking fun at him, which it was of course.

He spent that whole shift questioning the staff and even the people that owned the neighboring business that owned the door.  It seemed that this being on the door made him more angry than scraping up the car.  He never did accuse me of doing it which surprised me because I was always being a smart ass and doing things like that.  I’m not sure if he ever figured it out.

The disappearing dish rag

    Sometimes you can’t resist having a little bit of fun even if it makes someone else hate you for a little while.  Once you know certain people for a little while you realize that they can be gullible enough for jokes that may not work on others.  This one I thought up on the spot.  One day a bunch of us were talking and a very naive teenage girl stopped washing dishes and came over to join in the conversation.  She had been using a J cloth on the dishes and set it down on the counter beside her.  Within thirty seconds someone came along, took the J cloth, and began to wash the dishes.  The girl who had set it down didn’t see them do this.

       When the girl decided to do some more work she realized that the cloth had disappeared.  Me, being the asshole I am, told her that it evaporated.  To my surprise she believed me.  “How would it do that”?  she asked, quite confused.  I had to think fast so I told her that if they are left dry in the box they can sit around for years but after they get wet they evaporate after about two weeks.  I thought I had gone too far with this lie but she believed it too.  I told her that I remembered that was the first one I had taken out of the newest box, about two weeks ago.   I didn’t think anyone would believe this but she did and that day alone I must have heard her tell five people in there about this discovery about the J cloths.  They all just looked at her, nobody told her the difference. 

       What made this girl so angry was that nobody told here the difference for about a month.  When she finally did see the light she was so angry with me she didn’t talk to me for about two months. 

        While on the topic of  J cloths I have another very silly story that I may as well tell now because it is quite possible I may never be on the topic of J cloths again in my life.  

The first manager that I had for some reason had a fear of J cloths or more specifically a fear of the feel of a dry J cloth, I don’t know how a person develops a phobia such as this.   I know that a lot of people don’t like touching some gooey or sticky substances which is understandable but the fear of dry cloths is a little puzzling even if they do feel somewhat gritty when dry.

     After I found out about this fear I had to see if it was true.  One day she was standing there talking with someone and I ran by as if I was in a big rush.  I asked her if she could hold something for me as I whizzed by.  She didn’t have time to see what I was giving her and within three seconds I heard a bone chilling scream and then I saw her throw it as if it were on fire.  That must have been a particularly scary dry J cloth.  She was only mad at me for about a week.

Pizza scam busted

     About five or six years ago the pizza restaurant that I worked at finally got rid of their horrible 30 year old cash register system and went computerized.  Though there was a painful period of time training some of the people on this it did turn out to be better in many ways.  You could type in much more detail about orders you were ringing in avoiding much swearing back and forth with the kitchen staff which did get out of hand during busy times.  It was at this same time that some tricksters decided to come up with a scam that targeted almost every food delivery business in town I later found out.

     Up to this event I have to admit that I was one of those idiotic people who had the belief that it wasn’t always necessary to lock the doors when out I was out of sight of the vehicle, such as in an apartment building, dorm or hotel.  I had just been lucky up to this point, never losing a pizza from a vehicle in about 12 years delivering pizza.  Then I lost a pizza.

      I took an order to a hotel and no one answered the door.  Happens all the time, they’re usually having sex.  I called the front desk while I was still standing outside the door to see if they could ring the room.  They said that wouldn’t do any good because that room was vacant that day.  Sometimes the hotel can check their switchboard and tell what room called your number last but this front desk agent said he didn’t know how to check it.  I was out of luck here.   All you can do is assume it is a wrong room number and wait for them to call back after an hour.  I returned to the car and noticed as I put the pizza bag down in the back seat that the other order was gone and I began to swear.  I had been scammed.  It then hit me like a ton of bricks, I had been talking to a courier driver who had been delivering chinese food to the same hotel and the same thing had happened to him, I had forgotten all about it.  I was mad at myself for forgettting this and realized that I took it very personal for some reason.  It did turn out of course that the order that I had also been a fake address.

      I made a point of talking to that courier driver again that night.  It seems that the fellows conducting this scam were counting on a lack of communication between rival pizza places and other restaurants that did delivery.  The courier driver, who delivered for any restaurant that called him knew of at least ten restaurants that got scammed, the creeps got lucky that it was never the same driver twice and that there actually was not much communication until it was too late.  Just in the last couple of days before I got scammed had the problem become severe enough that the word had actually got out there among different restaurants.  It had actually been casually mentioned to me and I guess I didn’t listen very well.  There were a lot of delivery joints in town and I’m sure there were other ones they would try. 

     I talked to that same driver again the next day and he said theyhad struck again, scamming a rival pizza place for the second time.  This when it occured to me that these guys were too cocky for their own good and in time they would call our place again.  I really hoped that I would be working.  It turns out that the trick was always the same, they would call in an order for the hotel and within about two or three minutes call in an order to an apartment that was just a few hundred feet down the street from it.  Of course these deliveries would be going in the same car.  The thing they did to cover themselves is give their cell phone number in case anyone called back from the store to verify the number.  Nobody along the way noticed that it was the same phone number on both orders they were taking.  It actually isn’t something you would be looking for unless you thought something was going on.  It was the cell phone number that I used to catch them.

        I guess I must be a bad guy to piss off because every time I answered the phone or was nearby when someone answered the phone for the next week or so I was studying the order to see if there was anything fishy going on.  I was really starting to annoy my coworkers.  I only had to wait about a week and luckily it was me that answered the phone.   I picked it up and the display showed an address on Walker St. which would be a couple hundred feet away from the Holiday Inn.  When I asked him what his address was he gave me a room number at the Holiday Inn, not Walker St.   This is what got them.  The computer would save the address that was typed in the last time someone called from that number and that was the Walker St. address from the week before, the order that had been stolen from my car.  The guy must have been very practised at placing bogus orders because he never faltered once, the order was a normal order and he was very calm and polite when placing it.  I played it pretty cool and didn’t let on that I suspected anything.  When I got off the phone I told the manager that I was postive that these were the guys but I don’t think he really believed me.  I told him that if he had any doubts about it that within five minutes there would be a call where the computer would display Holidy Inn when the phone was ringing but the order would be for Walker St.  He looked at me as if I was crazy.  Within two minutes the phone rang and it was exactly as I said it would be.  I got him to answer it.  When he got off the phone he said “Okay, what should we do to get these pricks”?

          We had to think fast, we only had about a twenty minute window to take some sort of action.  We happened to have a few old phone books around so we boxed a couple up and put them in a pizza bag.  I gave the manager my jacket with the restaurant logo and I put on his leather jacket.  I said I’d go down with my car and park around the corner and watch from the bushes.  We made it easy for the crooks.  About five minutes later he went down in a marked pizza car and left the passenger side window open for easy access to the pizzas, I mean phone books.  He went into the hotel with the other pizzas and waited for something to happen. 

         It didn’t take too long for something to happen.  It turns out that my hiding place in the bushes was about three feet behind the car containing the scammers.  One fellow got out of the passenger side and walked towards the pizza car, looking around, hands in his pockets and whistling.  Looked pretty guilty to me.  I waited until he got his head and shoulders in the car and hands on the pizza bag.  I really hadn’t thought much about what I would do or say at this point because I had my doubts that I would ever get the opportunity.  I jumped out of the bushes and yelled “Does that fucking pizza belong to you, asshole?!” 

         The guy let go of the pizza and jerked upwards so hard that the back of his head hitting the window frame shook the car.  He began to run away, howling in agony, clutching the back of his head.  I don’t know how he didn’t knock himself out, he hit that hard.  Any trace of a plan I did have went all to hell at that point, becaused this was about the funniest thing I had ever seen.  I ran after him but apparently he ran faster hurt and scared than I did laughing so hard I was almost crying.  It got even funnier.  The other young punk who was driving the car who had lots of opportunity to drive away was sitting there shivering with fear in the seat.  As I walked towards the car, trying to stop laughing and look mean I saw him reach around and lock all four doors as I approached.  He still didn’t drive away.  I went and looked at the license plate and took a piece of paper, put it on the hood of the car and began to write down the number while looking at him.  By the look of fear on this 17 year old punk you would have th0ught that I was pointing a gun at him.  I’m sure he shit his pants.  I told him all I wanted was his license plate number, he drove away about one mile per hour across the parking lot and I was nice enough to walk beside him until he got to the street where he didn’t drive too much faster.  At this point my manager finally emerged from the hotel.  “Did anything happen?” he whispered.

            We called the police with our information, they called us back and said that the perps claimed that this was the first time that they had ever done anything like this.  I told the cop that a second staff member hiding in the bushes was not something we regularly do on delivery and explained to him how the computer is linked to the display phone and how their information was saved.  I guess he did see my point and they did get charged with something very minor, I don’t remember what the charge was.  The cop told me that the two boys should be more worried about someone else.  The punk that was driving was using his mother’s boyfriend’s car and this fellow was a known bad ass and didn’t see the humor in his car being used in various crimes.  Now I just hope I didn’t give somebody in a different town a good idea for a scam.

Sometimes you just don’t feel wanted

      I guess I have been lucky enough to have spent my pizza career working in a city where years can go by without a murder and thefts don’t usually involve a gun.  I have had some minor scares that was possibly the  result of  paranoia from being in a certain part of town and perhaps there really was no threat.  This one was different.

      Five or six years ago I delivered to a place where you turn a corner from  busy respectable street and are magically transported into a very scummy area just by turning a corner.  By this time I was allready a hardened pizza veteran and wasn’t easily rattled.  When I pulled up to the building I realized I had never been in it before in all my years delivering.  A pizza delivery guy develops the ability to remember these things for some reason.  It was an ancient structure,  judging by the architecture at least 120 years old.  It appeared to be about a 20 unit building and was pretty beat up on the outside but similar to many other buildings in the area.  It appeared to have the original old fashioned wood door that felt like it weighed hundreds of pounds.

        The inside hallway looked like the inside of a building you would see in a war torn city, no exaggeration.  You could see where huge chunks of plaster had fallen from the walls and left on the floor.  I was knee deep in old boards and garbage in some spots.  There was one flickering bulb hanging from wire on the ceiling barely enough to navigate this obstacle course.  This was the most decrepit building I have seen that people actually lived in.

       I was put on edge by these surroundings and was further entertained by each door I came to opening a few inches and people staring at me as if I shouldn’t be there.  Some of the doors opened wider and I would get the pleasure of seeing two or three people staring at me, all of them looking angry.  The interiors of the apartments weren’t any better than the hallways.  People opened their doors and stared at me with either blank or angry faces from about eight or nine different apartments on my my way to the third floor.  I wondered why so many people would do this, do they wait by the door in case there might be someone to watch.  Are they looking for cops?  There were the aromas of pot and hash coming from most doors but that was to be expected in most scummy apartments.  On many other occasions I have seen other people peek out their doors as I walked through an apartment building but in most cases it is a nosy old lady who has nothing better to do than concern herself than to watch traffic in hallways.

     By the time I reached the room I was looking for I was expecting to be stabbed and robbed.  The fellow in the apartment dissappointed me, he wasn’t aggressive but was a bit nervous or jumpy or something.  He signed for the credit card and I went on my merry way.  The only thing that was really odd about his apartment was that it was bathed in red light.  I have a feeling that he wasn’t developing pictures in there, who knows what was going on.  As he shut his door I noticed it was a metal door and not a flimsy fake wood door like you see in most apartments.  I’m assuming that a large number of doors had been kicked in prior to installing the metal doors on all the apartments.

     The trip downstairs was pretty much a repeat of the trip upstairs, doors opening and people staring at me.  This time  a couple of people came  right out into the hallway to stare at me.  All I could think of was that everyone one of these people are going to assume that I have a big pile of cash on me and its quite possible that I did, I don’t remember.  It appeared that the people were angrier on the trip down, maybe because I had the nerve to walk through the hallway again forcing them to look out their doors a second time. They all looked out of it, you don’t have to have a conversation with someone to know this.  Every person I saw looked like they were hopped up on something.

    As I reached the top of the steps that led to the main floor two men from the apartment at the bottom of the stairs emerged from their room, stood in the hall and stared at me during my trip down the steps.  At this point I realized that it was a straight line from the bottom of the stairs to the front door which myself or somebody else had left open  and that my car was straight out from that and also with the door open.  I didn’t remember leaving my car door open but considering the place I was at was just happy it was still there.  The two fellows were a little too close to the bottom of the stairs for my liking and with an unobstructed straight line from me to my car I was tempted to sprint down the stairs and dive into the car.  If the two fellows got in my may I should have enough momentum to plow through them.  I managed to keep my cool, put on my “don’t fuck with me face” and gave a very slight nod to the fellows as I walked calmly by and calmly got in the car.  I then drove away at top speed as if the building was coming to get me.

       Later that night I asked one of the other drivers if he knew anything about that place.  The guy I asked was somewhat of a shady character himself so I guessed he would know something about it.  He did know of the place and described it as a crackhouse and a flophouse and he said he wouldn’t go in there, and he’d never had to go there with an order.  I then realized if he wouldn’t go in there that I should have been even more scared for the guy I asked was pretty scary himself.  Perhaps in a larger or a rougher city pizza drivers may see places like this every third delivery but it sure freaked me out.

         That delivery also came back to haunt me because about a month later a call came in from Visa that there had been a puchase from a stolen credit card.  The manager went back throught the records and matched the amount to that delivery.  It was no surprise.  What that restaurant would do would just ask for the credit card number over the phone and just take the slip out to be signed.  You never actually had to see the card.  At that particular time there had been a rash of stolen credit numbers going through that store and the manager got the bright idea that the drivers had to go back to the people’s houses and collect cash from the offenders.  I didn’t think much of this policy and never even attempted to collect any money.  He said I should go back to that address and collect for the amount from the stolen card.  I think I laughed for about five minutes and then I told him I would pay him double the amount if he would go down and get it back himself.

Some customers you don’t need

         I encountered a somewhat unpleasant individual one day at the takeout pizza shop I was working at.  I was in the washroom when it all started so with the fan going I didn’t hear the first of the yelling.  When I opened the door I saw the two teenage female employees huddled up on the floor in the fetal position bawling their eyes out.  There was a man in his forties jumping up and down, waving his arms and yelling at the top of his lungs at the front counter.  If were just me who he was freaking out at I may have been able to keep my cool but I don’t think there is an excuse for scaring the shit out of young girls like he did. 

       This man was an english speaking individual with no accent but he was so raving mad his words were barely recognizeable.  There was spit flying out of his mouth and his eyes were crazy.  When it gets to this point I don’t care about his needs as a customer anymore, he has crossed the line where he deserves good service or any service at all for that matter.

     In the middle of his senseless babble I was able to discover that he had received a takeout order and I can only assume that there was something wrong with it.  I didn’t care.  He kept pointing at one of the girls who by this time were peeking aroung the corner to see what was going on.  He kept pointing at one and saying “Rinky dink, she did, she gave me –she fucked up my”.  He was so mad he couldn’t even finish what he wanted to say.  I’m not sure what “Rinky Dink” is supposed to mean, it must have been the best name this prick could come up with.  This fellow then proceeded to jump over the  counter at me.  I guess I must have seen this move watching wrestling, I don’t know, but just out of instinct I grabbed him and threw him to the floor with great force on the customer side of the counter.  It looked like he was coming again and this is where it was my turn to turn into the irate spit flying asshole.

       I told him to get the fuck out and when he hesitated I chased him out and I’m glad he left because I probably would have been charged with assault if he stayed.  I think bodyslamming someone is justified when they jump over a counter at you so I wasn’t too worried about that.

       The two young girls were obviously very shaken but okay so I told them to just leave me alone for a few minutes while I counted down from 1000 and let  the adrenaline rush wear off.  It turns out that neither of them knew exactly what had set this fellow off, It had both of them so upset I thought they were going to quit but they didn’t. 

        Maybe I crossed a line with my next action, we had the asshole’s phone number from when he ordered and I called him and told him never to show his face in there again and told him off for about ten minutes until he finally hung up.  Oh, I forgot that during the conversation I also told off his wife or girlfriend who tried to justify his actions, I do feel bad about that.

       My previous blog contained advice for people who flip out at restaurants when something goes wrong.  The fellow I mentioned today took it to a whole new level but it reminded my of something else.  When you are bitching at an employee at a restaurant it may be hazardous to your health in certain situations.  How do you know that the employee didn’t just have an encounter like I had that day.  Imagine my frame of mind for the rest of that day and how much patience I would have for people bitching about insignifigant problems, not much. 

       Staff in restaurants or retail or anywhere with a high volume of customer traffic have to put up with a lot of shit every day and for the most part just have to smile and take it.  Chances are that many of them are going to snap at some point.  Who wants to be the lucky customer when this happens? 

       I never did see the “Rinky Dink” guy again.

The waitress is going to spit on your food

      Years of observing people throwing pizzas at you and throwing temper tantrums in the middle of a busy restaurant can affect different people in different ways.  Yes I am lucky enough to have had a pizza thrown at me and the shocking part was that it was by a wealthy old man but that is another story. 

      I have seen people at their worst in thier reactions to food or service they don’t like.  I have seen a man yell for fifteen minutes and threaten to get a young female cashier fired because he received a one litre bottle of Pepsi where the advertisement said the special came with a 1.5 litre.  I have basically seen alot of yelling and veins popping out on people’s heads. 

     I feel embarassed for these people, they may get another meal, they may get their food for free, they may make some poor waitress cry but one thing is sure they will  look like idiots.  When you really think about it, it is food, even if it’s undercooked or burnt or the wrong order, it’s only food.  A temper tantrum is not the solution.  I have had people call back after ordering a pizza and claim they are coming in to beat up the cook or the manager, and they are serious about it.  I don’t understand this.  I am not a man without emotion, I do get mad but I don’t believe that a unsatisfactory meal gives any reason to throw anything or yell at anyone.

        I am not saying that a person should not tell their server if there is something wrong with their order, they should, but without the fireworks.  Being nice about it will increase their chances of getting it resolved.  I’ll tell you why.  Chances are that if something was messed up with an order it was because the place is busy and the kitchen is having a hard time keeping up.  The servers have probably dealt with multiple assholes by the time you get there.  If you lose your temper what the server is going to say to themself is fuck this asshole, if he’s going to be like that I don’t give a shit if there’s a hair in his soup.  If you are a jerk they may actually make it extra hard for your problem to be resolved because now they hate you.

       If you are nice about it the server may genuinely feel bad about your problem and may actually get you a new meal or some other sort of compensation.  

      I have the opposite problem from the pizza throwers, after seeing how worked up people can get over food I can’t bring myself to complain at a restaurant.  I don’t think I’ve ever complained about a meal since I’ve started working in restaurants.  Thats been almost twenty years.  This doesn’t mean that my meal has always been perfect or correct but I’m not going to ruin somebody’s day by complaining.  If  a drink or bread or something is missing I will ask for it but I will do it very nicely.  If you are nice to them will be nice to you.  One thing to keep in mind is that these people are handling food that you are going to eat.  Cooks and wait staff do actually do horrible things to peoples food if the situation is bad enough, I’ve seen it done and I have to admit I’ve never stopped anybody from doing it if the customer deserved it.

      My wife gets frustrated with me for not complaining when I get something at a restaurant that is completely wrong or disgusting.  This is where I tell her that I just can’t force myself to be one of those people and besides I will eat anything that doesn’t try to eat me.

       Sometimes I try to talk her out of complaining even though she does complain in a very calm manner.  At these times she really doesn’t like me.  I have had conversations about this with numerous people over the years and more than a few times I have heard people say that they have a right to throw a fit because they are the paying customer and think its okay to flip out it you are not getting your moneys worth.  I inform them that if they are regular at a restaurant and also a chronic complainer that all the staff will all roll their eyes when the see them come in.  They have set themselves up for bad service by their constant bitching.  All I can tell these people is that they should go work in a restaurant for a couple of months and then we’ll talk.

Little old ladies don’t order 4 pizzas

     A few years ago the pizza shop I was working at was plagued with so many fake and prank orders we were calling back to confirm every order that wasn’t recognized as a regular.  There were probably 15 to 20 bad orders per week which was starting to eat into the profits.  For a larger city they might get that many in one night, I don’t know, but this a real problem for this store. 

              Most of pranks would consist of two fake addresses within a few hundred feet of each other and the second pizza was taken from the car while the driver would be out of the car with the first one.  Some drivers had a problem with locking their car doors for some reason.  The incident in this story was a different kind of prank.

     It was mid afternoon and I was working  a kitchen shift for a change, it was just me and a driver there.  A kid about 12 years old called and ordered approximately $50 worth of pizza.  As I mentioned before we were getting alot of prank orders and I was on guard for them.  This kid sounded legitimate even ordering that much food.  I did actually call back to confirm the order and everything sounded okay.  I was very good at spotting fakes by this point in my career, this kid was good.

    The driver left with the order, about 15 minutes later he returned with the pizzas.  I asked what happened.  He said that that the address was that of a little old lady in her eighties who was very confused about what was going on and assumed that she had to pay for it.  He said she was very sad and upset in her confusion.  He said he had a hard time calming her down.

       The first thing I did was call the number back that had been given.  If I had any doubt about who I was speaking to I might have done something different but I knew it was the same kid who had a very distinctive voice.  As soon as he knew he was talking to someone at the pizza shop he couldn’t hide the guilt in his voice.  I asked him what kind of stunt he thought he was pulling here and he said he didn’t do it but his brother does stuff like this all the time.  I asked him “Your brother does what all the time?  It sounds like you know all about it and by the way I know your voice.  Don’t leave your house, you are in big trouble in case your wondering.”

      I called the police.  I asked them what I could do in a case like this.  The officer I talked to answered “What do you want to do?”   I said that if he came in to the store and paid for the order and apologized to the old lady there wouldn’t be any further action.  The officer ran the address of the little old lady and the phone number I gave him and it turned out that she lived across the street from the boy.  I guess he did it just so he could watch and see what happened.  The officer stopped in a couple of hours later and said he called the boy and got his father’s number at work.  The officer told the father to go home, pick up his son and then pay me a visit.

      It wasn’t long after the officer left that a man in a suit and a respectable looking young boy came into the shop.  The boy was bawling his eyes out and carrying his piggy bank.  At this sight I did feel a little bit bad but that was outweighed by how much this had been going on and by the fact that it upset a little old lady so much.

        As the boy cried and counted out the money from his piggy bank I spoke to his father who was obviously very dissappointed in his son.  I felt sorry for the boy because in the brief conversation with his father I learned that he was an only child and didn’t really have any friends.  He had done this whole thing himself where most kids would do it to show off for their buddies.  This had been some sort of cry for attention or just a really bored kid, I don’t know.  At this point I felt like saying that he learned his lesson and to keep the money but it was too late for that.

         As they were heading for the door the father turned to me and said.  “How did you catch him anyway”?  I said  “Wasn’t hard, he gave your home phone number”?     “You stupid bastard”  is all he said to his son as they turned and left.

          I still can’t decide if it was too harsh or  it was the right thing to do in this situation.  These people lived in a nice part of town and looked like respectable people.  It never really hurt anybody except maybe the feelings of the old lady.  I never did find out if he apologized to her.  I can guarantee that the boy never did anything like this again.  Maybe I prevented his downward spiral into a life of crime.