When single mom of five Megan Bratten had her van stolen, the last thing she expected was that she'd end up making a sympathetic human connection with the thief who took it. But that's what happened. Megan, of Independence, Missouri, was horrified when she came out of a K-Mart to find that her van was gone. The mom desperately needed the van for work and for her children. At this point, most of us would curse the skies and call 911. But Megan had what turned out to be a better idea. She began texting the van thief.
Megan remembered that she had left her cellphone in the van and that possibly whoever had the van would pick up if she got in touch. Hoping that there was a beating heart within the cold chest of the person who would filch her van, she began texting pleas for the person to return it. She wrote:
Hey, you just stole a single mother of five's work van. You are ruining my life here.
When three hours went by, and numerous more texts didn't get a response, she decided to try a different approach. She's a mom, so she knows how to badger, plead, cajole, and guilt. She texted:
OMG car thief people can you just give me my van back! It would be epic, the miracle I need right now.
That must have done the trick, because suddenly the man began texting back, saying:
I do feel bad ... my kids needed a meal on the table so that's what their dad did got them food. I know its wrong but it's been so hard since I lost my job.
The man then gave Megan instructions on where to find her van. She took her mom and her dog and went to retrieve it. It was just where he said it would be.
Megan says she doesn't have the heart to file a police report, since she feels the man is down and out, and she can relate.
Megan used a risky but compassionate ploy with a person who, yes, is a criminal and made the wrong choice, but who is human and apparently had been having a difficult time. Absolutely no excuse, of course. But sometimes criminals are just like you and me, only much, much more desperate.
Now hopefully he has learned his lesson and won't keep stealing cars.
Would you have done what she did?