Retail worker catches shoplifter on Xmas Eve, but what he stole leaves her in tears

Dec 20, 2018

The festive season is upon us, and people are looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends. Yet we must remember that not everyone is lucky enough to have gifts under the tree come Christmas morning—and thus, the festive season is also the season of charity and giving.

This was a lesson Melanie Wilson learned while she was working at a retail store one Christmas Eve. She was just getting ready to wrap up her shift and head home when her co-worker alerted her to a young man who was shoplifting.

©Flickr | Shankar s.

So, she confronted the young man, whose pant pockets and sweater were bulging with merchandise, and asked if she could help him with anything. Looking “distraught,” he declined and went to leave.

“Please don’t leave,” she told him. But he didn’t listen and strolled out of the store still carrying the merchandise.

Following him, Melanie went out to the parking lot and found him at his truck, and there, she confronted him. She said that she would not call the police if he just would return the items, and he agreed, but asked if they could settle it somewhere where nobody would see.

Melanie agreed, and they went back into the store to sort the matter out.

Posted by Melanie Wilson on Friday, May 6, 2016

Then, when he started to pull out the stolen items, she had a heart-sinking revelation: None of these items were for him; they were all Christmassy things like small toys, candy, decorations, and tape; and it was clear that this was for a would-be Christmas celebration.

“Did you steal this stuff for your family?” she asked, half in disbelief.

The man, whose name was Shawn, teared up and admitted that it was. He had no money and was taking care of three kids, two of his own, plus his nephew. And all that he wanted was to give them a small Christmas celebration.

Melanie was devastated, and at that point, there really was only one option—as far as she was concerned. She brought him over to the counter along with all the goods, rang them up at the till, for a total of $75, and paid for all of it with her own money.

Posted by Melanie Wilson on Saturday, December 24, 2016

She couldn’t stand by and watch him get arrested on Christmas Eve for shoplifting, she told him. And with that, he went and sat down, unable to hold back his tears any longer.

But the charitable acts did not end there.

A woman who had been waiting in line behind Shawn overheard the transaction and stepped in to make sure that Shawn and his kids would have a Christmas to remember. She took him through the store and picked out more items until his arms were full of packages and wrapping paper.

Before leaving, Shawn stopped by Melanie’s office and tearfully said, “I just want to thank you so much for doing this for me. I can’t believe this happened.”

©Pxhere | Public domain

That’s when she remembered that she had a Walmart gift card worth $25 that she was planning to give a friend, and she decided to give it to him to go toward a Christmas dinner. After thanking her, Shawn left in tears.

Afterward, Melanie described the episode as life-changing. She decided to record herself on video and recount the story for herself, she said, but through social media, the stirring episode was shared hundreds of thousands of times online since.

She explained that she was not an overly religious person, but that it had been a moment where she felt the presence of God.

“I don’t want anyone to tell me there is no God,” she said. “There is a God, and he works in the most amazing ways. He has touched me today.

“I’m not even a real religious person, but you can feel it in your heart, that’s all there is to it. You feel it in your heart. Merry Christmas.”


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