The other day I saw what appeared to be a homeless man leaving the parking lot of the local grocery store. He caught my attention because he was pushing an empty shopping cart away from the store. At first I thought, "that man is stealing a shopping cart." Now this begs the question, should I feel bad that my first thought was his thieving and not his personal circumstances? Those shopping carts are around $150. While that isn't an exorbitant amount of money for this particular grocer, it is still wrong to steal right? I fought back the urge to roll my window down and chastise him for stealing, but that made me think.
Am I guilty of stealing a shopping cart since I saw such a seemingly innocuous act and failed to act upon it. At that point I know the grocery store's managers could have done nothing other than call the cops. Surely it isn't worth the police's time to take down a cart theft report. In hind sight I suppose the grocer could have at least known about the incident and called to order a replacement cart.
I regaled a friend of mine with this tale and they thought he might have just borrowed the shopping cart to transfer his belongings. This really got me thinking. Surely that would be a lot of walking. In my scenario the homeless man is borrowing the cart and thus would have to return it to the grocery store. What if he was moving his belongings to a further away location? Where did he leave his belongings in the first place to make the journey to find a cart? Why if there was a safe place to leave his belongings does he need to leave?
At this point I concocted the crazy map in my mind.
I imagined this guy moving his belongings from a bridge and wondered which path would he take to get to the new place. Would he take the most direct path through people's yards? Would He travel along the main highway or take some less traveled back roads for as long as possible? Then he would have to bring the cart all the way back to the grocery store.
Why is Joe Homeless moving? Does he know something about the end times that I don't? These thoughts kept spiraling in my head until I just decided he stole it.
Hopefully this doesn't make me a bad person, but that guy stole something and shame on him.