I worked at a pawn shop in the late 80's early 90's. Most folks have no idea how a pawn shop operates. I know that a pawn shop can do a lot of folks a lot of good, I'm sure most folks think otherwise. I know I helped a lot of people the 10 years I worked there. But, that's not the subject of this post and I don't care to defend pawn shops.
What I know is that you can't change a persons mind about things like pawn shops, same sex marriage, war, kids living on the streets or things like that. So I don't try to do so. I just want to share a story that took place when I worked at the pawn shop.
One day this kid came in the shop. I guessed he was maybe 13 -14 years old. He wanted to sell his cd player. I ask if he was 18, the minimum age one must be to do business with a pawn shop. He said he was not. He told me he was on his way south and need more money to continue his greyhound bus trip. I bought the kids cd player myself. I gave him twice of what the shop would have given him and he headed back to the bus station.
A couple hours later the kid came walking back into the pawn shop. At first I chuckled wondering what was up with this kid. He told me that when he got back to the bus station he was relieved of his money. It's been awhile so I can't remember exactly what went down, but he was upset and broke. I learned his bus was leaving at 8 p.m. and he needed $40 for a ticket. I told him to be back at the shop at 6 when I got off and I would make sure he got on the bus.
I got a couple of the guys at the shop to throw in some money. I called Stacey and told her I was gonna bring home this kid after work, feed him and get him on the bus.
Of course Stacey wanted to know where this kid came from and where was he going.
I had grilled the kid about all this earlier knowing hustlers come in all ages and sizes. The kid only said he was on vacation going to see friends. I ask about Mom and Dad, he said they knew what he was up to, but he could not reach out to them for money. I didn't press it. Although it was only about 20 years ago things really were different then. Now days the chances of me getting into trouble for aiding a minor are far stronger. I didn't think the kid was was trouble and I knew he needed help.
So there he was at 6 o'clock. I took him home and Stacey ask him lot's of questions, but we never thought to do anything but put him on the bus.
A friend came over and the four of us went to the local BBQ joint to get some food before we put the kid on the bus. At the BBQ joint I filled the owner in on the kid and he paid for the kids meal. A funny thing was one of my regular customers from the pawn shop happen to be at the BBQ joint at the same time. Hearing me talk to the owner about the kid the customer gave me $20 for the "effort".
So we ate and took the kid to the bus station. We all went in and bought his ticket.
We walked him to the bus, gave him the extra money we had collected, gave him back his cd player and put him on the bus. We watched it leave with him on it.
We felt good helping this kid, but sometime later it kinda hit us. What was this kid up to? What was he running from? We really had no idea. He was nice and he answered our question, but we really didn't know much. Stacey and I talked about it. Did we do the right thing? Was this kid a runaway who needed to be sent home? We had no idea.
In the end we decided we did the right thing. This kid was going somewhere one way or another. I think he was running from a bad situation, but I'll never really know.
I am glad we did what we did.