Yesterday, I piled a couple of my littles into our Suburban to head out on an errand. Our house sits just off center of a "T" in the road (see picture below taken from our front porch). As I was backing out of the driveway I noticed a man I didn't know, probably in his early to mid 20's, walking up the street across from our house. He reached the "T" and started to turn right (away from our house), but then noticed us pulling out and made a move to come our way. However, he quickly corrected and went back toward his right while toking on a bright red Big Gulp.
This seemed odd to me, besides of which I never like it when people I don't know watch me leave my house. It leaves me nervous and unsettled. To add to the tension, I still had four children at home who planned to watch a movie rather than go on errands.
So, I did what I have done many times before. I circled the block and doubled back toward our house.
And just as our house came into view from the top of our neighborhood road my kids and I had a perfect view of our driveway so we could watch up close and personal as our unruly new friend rode out of our carport and down the sidewalk on one of our scooters.
Uh, no. This is unacceptable.
We have lost several wheeled items over the years to this sort of mischief. We now have a heavy chain we use to lock our bikes together (see below), but scooters are a little harder to tether to anchor items.
Still, I was not going to quietly sit by and watch another theft go down right before my eyes.
So, I lead footed the gas pedal and snaked my way toward the far corner and the hoodlum I planned to confront. When I pulled the car over next to him I'm pretty sure he knew he was in trouble.
I hopped out and started a conversation that went a little something like this:
Me(touting my mad face): Hey buddy. I want my scooter back.
Him (faking shocked): Oh, is this your scooter?
Me: Yeah, you took it from my house just now. I watched you ride out of my driveway on it.
Him (still very shocked but handing the scooter to me): Oh, was that your house? I thought that was my friend's house.
Me: No, I don't think you did. It isn't nice to steal things. You shouldn't do that.
Him (affronted and now jittery): I really wasn't stealing it. I did think it was my friend's house.
Me (wanting to ask his "friend's" name but knowing he was imaginary -- also wondering what "friend" is fine with you making off with his stuff without permission -- but opting, instead, to just go away): You need to stay away from my house and leave other people's things alone. Stealing is bad. You really should leave. Now.
Him(walking quickly away, acting innocent): I really did think it was my friend's house.
By now I was shaking, but I had regained my quarry so it was all good. My son told me I had handled things better than he would have. I asked what he would have done and he said he would have punched the guy. Um, that seems like a bad plan over a scooter when the opponent is considerably older and probably much more street savvy (yeah, my yea-hoos are many many things, but I don't think street savvy is one of them).
I rounded the block again to be sure our "friend" had really left and then pulled back into the driveway where I found his near empty Big Gulp container sitting right where the scooter had been. How nice of him to leave that for me. Sigh. One last moment of fun, throwing away someones sticky trash trying really hard to not let it touch exposed skin.
If I am perfectly honest, I actually feel bad for this guy (just not bad enough to let him make off with my children's scooter). His eyes were shifty and his hands constantly twittering. I imagine he was high on something or suffering the after effects being high on something as he prowled the neighborhood in search of an easy score of any sort....even an old, raggedy, kids scooter. That cannot be a pleasant or happy life. I hope there are people who love him and encourage him somewhere out there so there is maybe hope he can become something more than just trouble skulking the neighborhood.
But at the same time, I do NOT hope to run into him again and if I do see him around the neighborhood I will keep a close eye on him and my phone in close reach.
Either way, all's well that ends well and since our scooter is happily home, and now stored out of sight, and my kids totally think I am a tough guy who can drop the heavy when needed (nice side bonus...even if a bit skewed from the true version) we'll just move on and hope for zero repeats of the event.
But be warned, keep your hands off our scooters....OR ELSE!
|Happy to be home after an escapade with a stranger. Stranger danger, it's a real thing.|