Jitendra Singh gave the teen a care package full of food after the teen told him he was shoplifting because he and his brother were hungry.
On the night of April 6, a 7-Eleven store owner was informed by one of his employees regarding a teen who was possibly shoplifting. Most people would immediately react to the situation and treat the person with extreme hostility. However, this shopkeeper did something extremely unlikely. Once informed, Jitendra Singh, watched via the security cameras, the teen stealthily put items such as gum and candy into his pockets. Singh told an employee to call 911, and then he went to confront him. By the time he went into the main store area, the teen was at the counter paying for a few items.
"I asked him, 'Take out whatever you have in your pocket,' so he took out one of the items," Singh told CNN. Since Singh had seen him pocketing more than that in the video, he told the boy to take out the rest of the items as well or he'd have to call the police. The teen said "He said, 'Oh, I'll put it back.' I said 'No, put everything on the counter. I want to see all the things that you have,'" Singh said.
Singh then asked the boy why he was stealing, to which the boy responded that his brother and he were hungry, reported CBS. The employee had 911 on the line but Singh asked him to disconnect the line. "I said, 'Well that's not food. You're stealing gum and candies. That's just something for munching,'" Singh said. "I said, 'If you're hungry, ask me. I'll give you food'," saying that, the Toledo shop owner filled a bag with food for free and gave it to the teen and sent him away. He said his store had food options which made for a much better meal including pizza, chicken wings, taquitos, nachos, and sandwiches.
When asked why he didn't report the boy instead, the store owner of nearly five years' answer was astonishingly humane and considerate. "He's a young kid. That will go on his record that he was a thief. He cannot do anything in his life. He will not get a good job. This will not solve his hunger problem," Singh said.
This entire episode was witnessed by another customer named Cedric Bishop. He, too, gave the boy $10 before Singh sent him his way. Bishop was moved by Singh's actions that he spoke about it in a Facebook post, “The cashier had the 911 operator on the phone,” Bishop wrote. “The owner told her to hang up. He went and started putting chicken drummies, sausage rolls, and a whole pizza and gave him a 2 liter. I thought that was an amazing thing the owner did. I was so touched I gave the young man $10.”
Bishop's sentiment has been echoed by thousands across Facebook, with the post getting 4.4K reactions and 1.8K shares. Singh said he never expected his actions to impact so many. "Customers are now coming back and saying, 'You're a good guy and you did a good thing,'" Singh said. "For me, it was not a big deal. ... I did what any normal human being would've done in that situation."
People across social media have applauded Singh's action and sentiment, with tweets such as,
Everyone has a story. This store owner understands Gandi's concept of "being the change you want to see in the world." https://t.co/pKiAZFzD2C— Julie Froberg Rose (@JulieFroberg) April 11, 2019
Ohio 7-Eleven owner catches hungry shoplifter, offers help instead of calling police - thank you Jitendra Singh for your kindness and understanding https://t.co/Y5g7qxQJKk— joecimperman (@joecimperman) April 9, 2019
According to People, Singh’s wife of nearly 30 years, Neera Singh said, “I’m really proud of him and it is the true self of himself. I know him, he’s very kind.”