Rainy-day crime gives our witness a lot to think about.

Monday morning started off just like any other weekday for our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun. After breakfast with his adorable daughter Rei, they hopped on his bicycle and he dropped her off at preschool. As P.K. headed back towards home, though, it started to rain.

As the first drops hit his head, P.K. pumped his legs, hoping to get home before it really started coming down. He could see other umbrella-less people out and about also scurrying to get indoors, and one of them was an elderly man who P.K. guessed was in his 80s. He was about 30 meters (98 feet) in front of P.K, walking in the opposite direction, and as he came up next to a convenience store he made a quick turn towards the entrance.

But the elderly man wasn’t headed inside to wait out the rain. Instead, he walked right up to the rack where customers put their umbrellas before going inside to shop. Showing no hesitation at all, he picked an umbrella out of the rack and turned back around to open and walk off with it.

At this point P.K. was just a couple meters away from the man, so he called out “Hey, wait a second…” while squeezing the brakes and bringing his bike to a stop. This caught the attention of the umbrella’s rightful owner, a burly, 50-something man who came rushing out of the store when P.K.’s voice caused him to turn towards the rack and see the theft in progress.

“The f**k do you think you’re doing?” the owner shouted, charging out of the store towards the much shorter and smaller thief. He grabbed the umbrella and wrenched it away, and the older man offered no explanation or apology, simply muttering “Ah…” as he ran off.

“Come back, you asshole!” the owner shouted, but apparently he decided that chasing after him wasn’t worth it. “Geez, what a crazy old coot, huh?” he grumbled, looking at P.K. for confirmation of his diagnosis.

P.K. really couldn’t argue with it, but the whole incident still left him sort of shaken up emotionally.

It’s natural to be angry when someone tries to steal something thata belongs to you. At the same time, every possible scenario P.K. could think of for why the old man would so casually try to take someone else’s umbrella left him feeling depressed. His deliberate and sure movements suggested he wasn’t suffering from dementia, but is he in such a rough spot financially that he can’t afford to buy an umbrella, even the cheap 300-yen ones they sell inside pretty much every convenience store? Does he have no family or friends looking out for his well-being? Has his attitude been hardened so much in life that he thinks “Eh, who cares if I steal something small?”

P.K. stayed in a bit of a funk for the rest of the day at the office. All he could do was appreciate that he was dry and out of the rain, and remind himself that sometimes life throws things at you that don’t have a nice, neat happy ending, which makes it all the more important to keep looking for things you can do to make the world a better place.

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]