Monday, January 26, 2009

You Can't Take It With You!

This crazy story happened to a young friend of mine a couple of years ago. As primary caregiver for her grandfather, Mickey* juggled the responsibility of her Pops and her own small children, plus a career. Each week, Mickey took her Pops to his favorite fast-food restaurant for a meal. One particular week, she picked him up for lunch, with her young son and infant daughter in tow.

Mickey's Pops had trouble keeping up with the handset to his cordless telephone, so he made a habit of keeping it in his shirt pocket each day. When Mickey picked up her Pops for lunch, he was wearing his house slippers, khaki pants, and a shirt (with the handset in his pocket). He announced that he needed to stop at Wal-Mart for a few things - namely a new wristwatch. They ate lunch and then headed for Wal-Mart.

Mickey took her Pops to the jewelry counter and helped him select a wristwatch, and he put it on at the counter. Then he said, "I have to go to the bathroom." Mickey asked her 8-year-old son to escort Pops to the Men's room. Meanwhile, Pops needed corn pads, too, so Mickey took her baby and headed for the Health and Beauty Aids section to find corn pads. By the time she met her son and Pops at the check-out line, Pops announced that he was tired and said, "I'm going outside and sit on a bench." As he headed for the bench in the store entryway, he tripped the alarm in the doorway, because he was wearing the new watch (which had yet to be paid for at the register). Of course, Wal-Mart Associates came running. The next thing Mickey knew, these associates had Pops standing at the Service Desk, pockets emptied, and he was saying, "But that's MY telephone."

The Associates thought Mickey's Pops had stolen the handset from the Wal-Mart Electronics department. He was frantically trying to tell them it was his - he had brought it from home. Mickey came to his rescue and also tried to explain that he kept his handset in his pocket so he would remember where it was, and yes, this was HIS handset from HIS house. They were not believing her. Mickey opened her Pops' wallet and showed them multiple $100 bills. She said, "Look... he HAS money. He doesn't need to steal anything." Still the associates were not believing her. There she stood with her Pops, who was tired and kept trying to go back outside and sit down, an infant and an 8-year-old, and she was being accused of lying - and her Pops of being a thief!

Totally frustrated, Mickey looked up to see the store manager coming in the front door. Fortunately, she knew this man, and he recognized her and came to her rescue. She explained the situation, and he told the Associates to let Mickey and her Pops pay for the watch and other items and be on their way.

Needless to say, that day brought far more than Mickey bargained for! I imagine she checked her Pops' pockets fairly closely before leaving home the next time! Do you have a similar story? We'd like to hear from you!

*Name changed.

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