Amid the myriad tales of stolen belongings and theft comes this story of a kind yet persistent teacher who just wanted her phone back and was willing to give the person who stole it the benefit of the doubt.
Pan Aiying, a middle school teacher in China, was walking along carrying a bag containing normal things, like money, bank cards, and her mobile phone, when a motorcycle rider snatched her bag and zoomed away. She, of course, being on foot, could not dream of catching the thief, so she did the next best thing: She called her phone.
The thief apparently answered the phone but then hung up right away. Pan, ready to call the police, decided to try the gentle approach and, borrowing a friend’s phone, sent a text message to her stolen phone. The message was a plea for her stolen stuff back, but it was also an invitation to get help: “I’m Pan Aiying, a teacher from Wutou Middle School. You must be going through a difficult time. If so, I will not blame you.”
She followed that up right away with another message, urging the thief to keep the money (which was 4,900 yuan, or more than US$630) but pleading with him to give her back her phone. “You are still young,” Pan said in her second text message. “To error is human. Correcting your mistake is more important than anything.”
She sent 21 text messages in all that day, all along the same lines. All went unanswered. She decided to call the police the next day. The next morning, on her way to her local police station, she found at her doorstep a package, which contained her bag and everything in it, including the phone, the bank cards, and every bit of the money.
Also in the bag was a handwritten note: “Dear Pan: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Please forgive me. You are so tolerant even though I stole from you. I’ll correct my ways and be an upright person.”
I think he got off pretty easy, considering what happens to people in Texas.