The owner of a big grocery store decides to find out who is taking money from the cash register and pretends to be a blind man to trap the thief.
Thomas Greyson was 58, and he was thinking about retiring. He had a very successful business — a grocery store — which he hoped to keep in the family. Still, even though his oldest son had already graduated from university with a business degree, he didn’t seem very keen on working.
Alan Greyson was mostly fond of partying and spending his parent’s money, and even though his younger brother was a serious and dedicated student, his passion was medicine. Thomas had to find a way to make his older son his successor.
Thomas called his son in. “Alan,” he said. “I’ve made a decision. From now on, the free ride is over. Unless you put in a full eight hours a day at the store, you won’t get another cent from me.”
Alan wasn’t pleased, but he was clever enough not to show it. He did start going to the store every day, but he arrived late and left early. A few weeks after he started working, the manager discovered that the till was short over a hundred dollars.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Greyson,” George, the manager, said. “But I think Alan is dipping into the till…”
Thomas sighed. “I’ll look into it, George,” he said and called in his son. “Alan, have you been taking money from the till?”
Alan looked surprised. “No!” he said. “Why would I do that when you give me whatever I want?”
Thomas frowned. “There is money missing!” he cried. “Are you telling me you don’t know anything about that?”
Don’t judge people on first impressions.
“I think you should ask the night clerk!” Alan said sullenly. “He’s the only one who is ever alone in the store!”
Thomas thought about it. The night clerk had started working at about the same time as Alan. He was reportedly a very quiet young man, and he had come highly recommended by an old friend.
Could he be the thief? Thomas decided he was going to catch Henry Dean red-handed. Since Thomas had never been by the store since he hired Henry, he knew Henry wouldn’t know him. He dressed up in an old tracksuit, put on a pair of dark glasses, picked up a cane, and went to the store late at night.
It was raining hard, and by the time Thomas walked into the grocery store, he was soaked. “Excuse me, young man,” he said to Henry. “DO you mind if I shelter here for a little while? It’s raining very hard.”
“No problem!” Henry said. A little while later, he came over to Thomas with a mug of hot tea. “Why don’t you have some tea to warm you up? You don’t want to catch a chill.”
Thomas was surprised by Henry’s demeanor. It wasn’t what he was expecting from a thief! He watched the young man through his dark glasses. He was certainly very quiet, a bit shifty even…
Thomas liked extroverts, people who wore their hearts on their sleeves, and that would never be Henry! He was still drinking his tea when an older woman walked in.
She pottered around the store, putting a few things into her basket, then she walked up to the till. Thomas saw that she was skinny, and her old hands were trembling.
Henry started registering her meager shopping; then he cried: “Mrs. Pursival, you forgot the eggs, and the butter and the ham!” He dashed out from behind the till and went to get the items.
Thomas saw that he added a jar of honey too. Then he rang up the bill. “I can’t afford that!” the old lady cried. “That’s $23 more than I have on me!”
“That’s OK!” Henry chirped. “The difference is on the house!”
“But young man,” Mrs. Pursival protested. “That’s $23 today; last week it was $48, and the week before that… You’ll end up getting fired!”
“Don’t you worry about that, Mrs.Purseval,” Henry said. “As soon as I get paid, I’ll put the money back. It’s not a problem!”
Henry packed the old lady’s groceries, and she thanked him profusely. Thomas waited until she was gone and called to Henry: “Young man! Please, can you get me a candy bar?”
When Henry walked over and placed the chocolate in Thomas’ hand, he commented: “You’re a kind boy! Are you really going to put the missing money from the old woman’s groceries back in the till?”
“Yes, sir,” Henry said shortly. “I’m an honest man.”
Thomas pretended to fumble for his wallet and pushed a crumpled $20. “Here’s $10! I hope it’s enough!”
Thomas waited while Henry made change and gave it to him, then he put it in his pocket and walked out of the store. Outside, he quickly checked his wallet. Henry had given him change for $20, not $10.
Thomas grinned. “An honest man indeed!”
A week later, when the salaries were paid, the manager told Thomas that every cent of the missing money seemed to be back in the till. Thomas smiled at his manager.
“You know what?” he said. “I don’t think I’ll retire after all. I’m opening a new store, and I think I’ve just found my manager: Henry Dean!”
What can we learn from this story?
Help those in need. What to you may seem like a pittance to someone hungry can mean a difference between life or death.
Don’t judge people on first impressions. Thomas didn’t like Henry because he was too quiet, but he discovered he had a kind and generous heart when he got to know him.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.