Running a convenience store comes with a unique set of challenges. Long hours, employee turnover, difficult customers, and even theft are just part of the territory. For Jitendra “Jay” Singh, owner of a local 7-Eleven, being part of the community is one of the things that brings him back day after day.
Last Saturday night, Mr. Singh was alerted to a young man pocketing food items in the store. When confronted, the boy stated that he was stealing food for his younger brother and himself; that they were hungry. At any point, Singh could have detained the potential thief until the police arrived and let the criminal justice system deal with him. He chose to do something else instead.
“I gave him some sandwiches and some of the food stuff because we serve pizza, hot wings, chicken wings and sandwiches, taquitos, all those items,” Singh said to WTOL News 11. “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,” Singh went on. “He’s a young kid. That will go on his record that he was a thief. He cannot do anything in his life. He will not get a good job. This will not solve his hunger problem,” Singh said.
Another local resident, Cedric Bishop, documented the whole story on Facebook. It left him feeling inspired. “I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen this before, this is amazing,” Bishop told WTOL News 11. “I’m going to talk with Jay and maybe two hours of the day they can come here, I’ll barbecue hot dogs for them, give them a pop and a bag of chips so they won’t be hungry, and I can do that out of my own pocket,” Bishop said.
This simple act of compassion from an immigrant convenience store owner shows what can happen when members of a community take a moment to listen to each other, to be motivated by kindness instead of fear. Today, we should all try to be more like Jay Singh and Cedric Bishop.