[ The Trumans - Is it Stealing, or not?  That is the Question. ]

Mercy Triumphs over Judgment Part 3

Previously in the Truman’s… A police officer came to the Truman’s house in response to their house break-in.  The damage to the house had already been done, but the officer asked Mr. Truman to compile a list of stolen items and then to call to tell him. 

(There is then a flash back to earlier in the day where we hear a conversation between Wayne and his mom.  There is then a time shift to the next day after the robbery.  Mr. Truman gets a call from the officer that came to his house the evening before how the robber has been caught.)

After Sam, Mr. Truman, got off the phone with Officer Greene, he called his wife to let her know about the situation, and how the person who had robbed their house was caught by the police.

“Yeah, the officer told me they caught him earlier this afternoon,” said Sam to his wife, Karen.

“That’s good news, hopefully the officer was right about having a lead on our belongings,” she replied.

“Yeah, I still need to give the officer the list of all the stuff that was stolen,” he said, “I think I’ll stop down at the police station later and give him the list.”

“Why don’t you just call him up and tell him?  That would be much easier,” she asked.

“Well, I just feel like stopping in,” he replied.

Suddenly Karen realized what was going on.

“You just want to stop in and see the person who robbed us, don’t you?” she asked.

“Honey, it’s just that this person not only stole from us, but also took our sense of security too.  I’m not going to do anything rash; I just need to see the person face to face,” he replied.

“Alright, but I’m coming with you,” she said, “And Peter will have to come too.  He’ll be the only one home tonight since Phoebe had plans already to go to a friend’s house, and Matt has to work late tonight, and I don’t want to leave Peter by himself.”

“Alright, how does going at six o’clock sound?” he asked.

“That’s a good time.  We’ll plan for that then,” she replied back to her husband.

At around 6:10 in the evening, Mr. Truman, Mrs. Truman, and Peter arrived at the police department.  Mr. Truman gave Officer Greene the list of items that were stolen, and he also asked if it was alright if he and his family could see the person who had robbed his house.  The officer agreed to the request and went with them to show them the way and also to supervise them.

They all walked to the jail cell area and saw a young man leaning on the bars of his cell.  To the Truman family’s surprise thought, the young man wasn’t alone but he had some company; a woman and a boy were with him too.

“Wayne?!” exclaimed Peter to the boy who was standing next to the woman, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m visiting my brother,” Wayne replied who was just as surprised to see Peter, “What are you doing here?”

“We’re here to see the person who robbed our house last night,” Peter replied back.

The young man in the cell hung his head in shame and sighed and said, “Yeah that would be me.”

Mr. Truman took a step forwards towards the young man and asked him, “What’s your name?”

“My name is Eric Hall, sir,” the young man replied looking upwards toward Mr. Truman.

“Why did you rob our house?” asked Mr. Truman, whose face looked like it could have been carved from marble stone.

Eric took a deep breath and started his story, “I know what I did was wrong, and I know now that it was very stupid and foolish of me to do it too, but I’ll tell you why I did it, as stupid as it is.  It all began when Wayne came home yesterday.  I heard him come in the door, and was about to come out to see him since I heard him say my name, but then I heard him talking to my mom about something.  I turned down the volume on the television because the conversation sounded interesting.  Wayne had forgotten his jacket at, well, your house.  He mentioned an address and then started talking about your family going out to a theater that evening.  The conversation wasn’t as interesting as I thought it was going to be, and was about to turn the volume on the television back up, until I heard Wayne say something else.  He said that you had nice things at your house; at least they were nicer than we have at our apartment.  So I connected all the dots and saw that I had an opportunity to help myself to some of your stuff. I figured that since I was poor, that it wouldn’t be wrong to take a little something to help out my mom and brother.  I called two of my friends on the phone and told them about the proposition I had, and they both agreed to help me.  We met at your house, snuck up to the door, smashed a window, and unlocked the door.  Once I was inside though, everything changed.  In my mind, I pictured a family sitting down with children playing around them, and seeing myself as one of them, and then all of a sudden someone broke down my door and took all of my belongings.  I pictured how I would feel if that would happen to me and how horrible it would be, and that’s when I realized that it was exactly what I was doing.  I was making a terrible mistake.  I was just about to call the whole thing off when everything happened so fast.  Your dog woke up and started barking at us.  My one friend panicked and hit your dog, while in the process knocking over a lamp.  We were all scared then because we made so much noise and didn’t know if the neighbors heard us.  I told them both that I didn’t care about the stuff and that we should get out of there.  They both thought that we should grab something first since we were already there, but I didn’t listen to either of them.  I just ran out of the house as fast as I could away from what had just happened.  I turned myself in this afternoon because I just couldn’t handle the guilt of what I had done.  I’m so sorry; please don’t make me stay in jail.”

“Wow,” said Mr. Truman, “I don’t know what to say.”

“Sam, we need to talk privately for a minute,” said Mrs. Truman as she looked at her husband.

Mr. and Mrs. Truman went off in the far corner of the room and started discussing something.  It was really awkward for everyone else in the room since none of them knew what to make of it.  Finally after about ten minutes of discussion, Mr. and Mrs. Truman came back to the rest of group that was gathered around the jail cell.

“We talked it over, and…,” said Mrs. Truman as she looked at her husband hoping he would catch on to continue her sentence.

Mr. Truman saw the cue and said, “We talked it over and we were wondering, Officer Greene, if the charges could be dropped on Eric?”

Eric looked through his cell bars at both Mr. and Mrs. Truman in wonder and said, “Why would you ever do that for me?  I mean, I broke into your house.”

Mr. Truman continued, “My wife and I have come to the decision that, although what you initially did was wrong, in the end you realized your mistake and were even willing to confess what you did wrong.  You even turned yourself in to the police, which show us that you have a conscience.  Besides, you didn’t actually steal anything from us; it was your ‘friends’ that did that.”

“Wow,” said Eric, “Now I don’t know what to say.”

Even Wayne and his mom were speechless as to what to say.

“Wait a minute,” said Officer Greene who was also surprised to what he was hearing, “You mean to tell me that you are willing to let this boy off without any judgment happening to him?”

“That’s right,” replied Mrs. Truman.

“But there is one thing though that we do request of Eric if we do drop the charges,” said Mr. Truman, “Eric, do you have a job?”

“No sir,” said Eric.

“Well, you need to get one then.  You won’t feel so prone to stealing if you have an income,” said Mr. Truman, “And if you have trouble finding a job, give me a call and I’ll see what I can do to help you get one.”

“Yes sir, I’ll get one as soon as I get out,” replied Eric who was smiling from ear to ear, “And thank you so much for wanting to help me.  That is more than generous of you.”

“Wow, I don’t believe what I’m hearing,” said Officer Greene, “You want to let him go, and now you’re giving him advice and are willing to help him out.  I’ve never seen this amount of kindness before to anyone, more or less to someone who just broke into your house.  Since I’m the only one left to drop the charges, I’m going to let you go, Eric.  This won’t even show on your record.”

“Wow, this is really too much,” said Eric, as he looked down to see Officer Greene unlock his cell and open the door, “Thank you so much everyone.”

When Eric was released from his cell he immediately went to his mom and brother and gave them both a huge hug.  He then turned his attention to the Truman family.

“Thank you so much,” said Eric almost on the point of tears, “You have no idea what this means to me.”

“You’re very welcome.  By the way,” said Mr. Truman holding out his hand, “I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.  My name is Sam Truman, and this is my wife Karen, and my son Peter.”

Eric took Mr. Truman’s hand and shook it firmly, “It’s nice to meet all of you.  I still can’t believe I don’t have to stay in jail.  Thank you so much for your kindness to me.”

“It’s just like it says in the Bible,” replied Mr. Truman, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”