There I was, minding my own business in my town centre (off duty). I wandered into my local branch of what used to be John Menzies but changes it’s name every six weeks, or so it seems.
I was with my kid in a pushchair & as we walked round the end of an aisle I saw an elderly gent tucking a box of Terry’s All Gold into his shopping bag. Something inside said, just ignore it but as he walked past me I just couldn’t help myself. I said “I hope you’re going to pay for that” in a voice loud enough for the staff to hear.
If he’d been 15 I’d have said he gave me a dose of the ‘evils’, muttered something and removed the chocolates from his bag, dumped them among the Lincolnshire pork sausages & left the shop.
Ten minutes later I was elsewhere in the town when I saw the chap walking towards me. I had actually met this man a few years before when he was the victim of an assault by a teenager. He was a tall man, fairly thick set, upright. He used to be a Para, I’m not sure if it was in the war or just after. I’ve seen him around the town in a blazer with the Para badge.
He muttered something abusive to me as he drew level. I probably said something about how disgusted I was that a man who was proud of his service to his country could stoop so low as to reduce himself to petty shoplifting, whereupon he took a swing at me. I was pretty upset by this being as I had my young child with me, but to cut a longer story short, he ended up with a fixed penalty fine, courtesy of the local constabulary.
This was a few years ago and I’ve not paid it much thought since, it was one of those minor, transient experiences of no real consequence. I’ve seen him about the town a few times over the years & as far as I can make out he doesn’t remember me.
I saw him today in town for the first time in maybe three years or more. He was heading to the same shop I was. I decided to shop elsewhere, not because I fear for any trouble with him, more because I probably won’t be able to bite my tongue if he does it again.
Sometimes you just yearn for a quiet life.