Posted by: ourbakersdozen | June 3, 2010

A Hard Lesson Learned


Tuesday was the last day for our PE (Physical Education) classes at the Y – until next semester. So we planned a fun day on the water pad. Unsure when we would be getting to the local YMCA again Gabriela offered to help the little ones each buy one of the extremely large lolli pops that they have in the reception area.  These tempting treats are being sold for cancer research.

Apparently Emma had asked if she could carry the money needed to purchase the lolipops in her little pink bag. Having been told yes by Gabriela she carefully deposited the dollar bill and quarters in the interior pocket where her ten dollar bill from her first communion was sequestered. While I knew about the plan to finally indulge in these lolli pops I was unaware that Emma had any money in her pink quilted bag and Gabriela, who had given her the money earlier in the day, totally forgot about it until it was time to pay for the already chosen lolipops.

Each little child had a shiny pop firmly grasped in their tight fists – even rosy cheeked sleepy Cecilia. Emma laid hers down on the counter so as to pull out her change and pay for the purchase. She gave a little gasp and worriedly cried out – ‘my money is gone!’  Having sent all the older children, save Gabriela who was helping the little ones chose their treats, a ll my concentration had been in balancing Cecilia, heavy wet towels and the diaper bag with my least injured arm but my head whipped around despite the stiffness in my neck from a slip on the stairs last week.

“What do you mean – your money is gone? Where did you have it?”

I had assumed Gabriela, as the underwriter of the treat, was carrying the money and, as I said, was not aware of their earlier preparations. Gabriela stepped forward and helped Emma search her little bag. Sure enough her little dolls, colorful story books and princess note book were all there in the bag as were the pennies, dimes and nickles but every last quarter, dollar bill and the ten dollar were gone. I guess dimes, nickles and pennies were beneath the dignity of a locker room thief who was willing to steal out of what was clearly a small child’s bag.

Still hopeful that in their flustered shock that perhaps they had missed the money I questioned Emma – when had she put it in there, had she zippered the little pocket closed, was she sure she had bought it?? She was so very clear in her memory that there was little chance she had not placed it there or later moved it to another bag for safe keeping. Still, I too carefully combed through the bag in desperate hope I would find the money tucked between the pages of one of her books. Nothing.

Thankfully another receptionist came forward to help as by now there was a long line of people waiting to be served and the only other receptionist was busy helping someone with forms. I quickly explained that unbeknown  to me Emma had left money in her bag in the locker room and it had been stolen. As the children had already chosen their pops – would she accept the fifty cents that we did have and we could owe the Y the rest?  Her face heavy with sympathy for Emma she quickly agreed and after my profuse thanks – we left. Gabriela took Cici and I re-shifted the rest of my bundles while the children grasped free hands and followed us through the exit.

“Well Emma,” I sadly asked. “Have you learned anything from this?”

As she carefully unwrapped her lolli pop she answered in a most serious tone!

“Oh Yes! Don’ bring money to the Y in your bag and leave it in the locker room or it will be stolen! But Mummy – why do people steal?”

I sighed. “I don’t know Emma, I don’t know – people just do.” When we got to the van the older children when they learned what had happened were incensed for Emma. As their justified complaints and exclamations filled the van I felt a deep sadness. For the thief.

One day that person will have to face the Lord Jesus and account for his sins, as will I. And he or she will have to explain why they were willing to steal out of what was very clearly a little child’s bag. I reminded the children of this and as we prayed a decade for an ailing member of the family we also added this nameless thief to our prayers. We prayed that he or she would see the wrongness of their ways and find the Lord.

It was a hard lesson for Emma and a good reminder for the rest of us – to remember to pray for the less fortunate members of our society.

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