It is well to think well; it is divine to act well.
- Horace Mann, American Educator (1796-1859)
Back at a time when word had gotten out in the neighborhood that my wife and my house was the place to go for kids who needed a place to stay (I guess we had a hard time saying no) there was a slew of kids who came and went, some lived with us for a little while, some for longer, but two kids in particular ended up becoming like sons to us. This post is about the one who betrayed us.
So he moves out, we fall out of contact, then four years later, we reconnect, meet his daughter and by the end of the year, we’re taking him and our other “adopted” son on a ten-day vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
We took this kid on vacation to Chicago, his first ever trip to Vegas, multiple camping trips where we always footed the bill for everything and then maybe a year passes and the next we hear from him, he’s calling us telling us he got in a fistfight, lost his job, lost his apartment and now he and his eight-year-old daughter have nowhere to stay.
For three weeks, our house is completely taken over. His daughter, through no fault of her own I imagine, is maybe the laziest eight-year-old girl we’ve ever encountered. She has only two interests in life, eating and watching Netflix. We’ve got My Little Pony streaming eighteen hours a day and when I ask her to help straighten the place up before my wife gets home, she flops on the floor as if a two-minute chore would absolutely kill her.
In the kitchen, the bigger child is endlessly cooking, eating five, six meals a day and not just snacks, I’m talking five or six full-fledged meals every day. I have never in my life seen a human being consume so much food, he just kept eating and eating like a demon possessed.
At the time, my wife has a new job with a shift that starts at 3am and she’s trying hard to adjust her sleep to the early morning hours, but no amount of pleading with them to let my wife get her sleep keeps these kids from banging around and barging in the bedroom, so after three weeks of having our house turned upside down and urging the kid to find somewhere else to stay, he finally grabs his stuff and leaves our home without even saying a thank you.
And it’s only moments later that we begin to discover the many ways he chose to thank us, because within fifteen minutes of his leaving, my bank sends me a text message that my account balance is at zero! My ATM card has been stolen. We take inventory of the house and discover that my wife’s laptop is missing, too!
Imagine how heartbroken we were – after taking him in to our home twice when he had nowhere else to go, after all the vacations we took him on, after all the money my wife had given him behind my back, this guy steals my wife’s laptop, steals my ATM card and completely drains my bank account! Never in our lives had we been so completely disappointed in another human being.
At this point, even with all the evidence we have including surveillance video of him using my ATM card at the Arco and an eyewitness who saw the laptop in his car and my ATM card in his wallet, we decide not to report him to the police and just write off our losses as knowledge gained – the kid we once thought of as a son turned out to be nothing but a thieving scumbag and he would forever be dead to us.
But it was only today, a month after he left our home that we found the full extent of his betrayal. Opening my web browser and navigating to view my Google Photos, it turns out that the browser is still logged into his account. Now we’re looking at his collection of photos on Google and we’re laughing at him posing like he’s all gangsta while he’s smoking a blunt and then . . . imagine our shock and horror as we scroll down to see photos he took eight days after he left our home showing off my wife’s Rolex watch!
Now we’re talking grand larceny.
There are photos of a green collapsible camp chair he stole from our outdoor storage, an expensive condenser microphone that I had never taken out of the box and a cheap $20 smart watch he probably thought was expensive as well.
At this point, the policy of never contacting him again goes out the window, my wife texts him, tells him she wants her Rolex back, he admits to his thievery and he begs us not to call the police because he’ll lose his daughter.