After catching a shoplifter trying to steal from a Tesco hypermarket in Malaysia, the store manager chose not to turn the man in to the police, but actually offer him a job at the very same store!
It turns out that the shoplifter, a 31-year-old father of three, had stolen food worth RM27 (about $7) out of sheer desperation, to feed his hungry children. “I had quit my job as a contract worker after my wife fell into a coma during a birth complication last week,” he told the local media. “She is still warded at the Bukit Mertajam hospital.”
The man, who is currently living with his relatives in the city, said he was walking back home after visiting his wife in the hospital, when he happened to pass by the Tesco hypermarket. His two-year-old son was hungry and tired, so they decided to go inside. “After walking for more than an hour, we went to the food section and I grabbed the pears, apples, and a few bottles of drinks.” Unfortunately, he was caught while leaving the store, and later interrogated by general manager Radzuan Ma’asan.
When Radzuan got to know the man’s situation, he was deeply moved. “He was not a regular thief,” he told reporters. “When we questioned him, he immediately confessed, saying he stole the fruits and drinks because his son was hungry. In my 23 years of experience in the retail line, I had never come across thieves who admitted their act so easily. Most would give all kinds of reasons.”
“He also told us he was unable to work as he had to look after his three children, aged two to seven. So we decided not to lodge a police report as this was a genuine case of extreme poverty.”
Radzuan decided to give him a second chance instead, offering him a job whenever he was ready to start working. He even gave him some cash to take care of immediate expenses and visited the man’s family along with his staff. “We visited his relative’s house,” Radzuan said. “It was so empty and poor.” A few days later they visited the man’s wife at the hospital – she was out of coma, but sadly, the baby had not survived.
“We do not condone theft, but this case was different,” a Tesco spokesperson said. “We have done our checks and what the suspect told us was true. We empathize with him and understand he was forced to do what he did.”
“For now, our priority is to ensure that he enrols his seven-year-old in a school,” Radzuan adds