Toledo 7-Eleven owner gives hungry shoplifting teen food instead of calling the cops

Published: Apr. 8, 2019 at 10:23 PM EDT
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Surveillance video shows it all: the owner of a Toledo 7-Eleven talking with a teen attempting to steal from his store.

"Do you want me to call the cops or will you take it out?," said store owner Jitendra "Jay" Singh of his conversation with the teen.

Over the weekend, Jay says he was alerted by a clerk about a suspicious person pocketing items at his Upton and Berdan shop. After watching his cameras, Singh confronted the thief and was shocked by the young man's response.

"He said, 'I'm stealing for myself. I'm hungry, and I'm doing it for my younger brother,'" said Singh.

Rather than calling the cops, Jay sent the teen back to the aisles to grab pizza, sandwiches and other food--all free of charge.

"It's not going to make any difference to me if I give him some food because we make a lot of food, we sell a lot of food," said Singh. "If he goes to jail then he's definitely not going to do anything good in life."

As a store owner of nearly five years, Jay says he likes to help others when he can. With this particular act of kindness customers definitely took note.

"He has a big heart," said customer Cedric Bishop. "He has a great, big heart."

Bishop posted about Singh's generosity on Facebook and the story caught on.

"I thought that was just beautiful because the young man could have had a record," said Bishop.

While people online are surprised by the compassion, Singh's wife is not.

"I'm really proud of him and it is the true self of himself," said Neera Singh. "I know him, he's very kind."

Neera says her husband of nearly 30 years has always been a caring person, and she's proud of the way he handled the situation.

"We are part of the community, and we have to help the community," said Neera Singh. "It is a part of our job."

After doing what he felt was right, Jay hopes the teen he helped repays the generosity to someone else down the road.

If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, we've posted a link to food assistance in the sidebar of this story.