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the story of an invisible girl
Robin Hood
I read in a comment where somebody rightly claimed that taking something which does not belong to you is stealing. Even if the item was just found somewhere, not actually taken from someone. Generally, I agree with this fully.

However, given that definition, I must tell my Robin Hood story. I was at a restaurant with some girlfriends. The table next to us was full of rowdy men, dressed like young professionals, being obnoxious. They were laughing loudly, making comments to one another. They were being somewhat rude to our mutual waitress. They were pretending it was all a joke, but they were complaining, demanding, and ordering her around.

At one point I glanced over and saw, on the far side of the table, under a chair, a ten dollar bill. Or maybe a twenty? I don't remember - regardless, it was real money. It had almost certainly fallen out of the pocket of one of the guys sitting above it. All of us at my table saw it, laying there on the floor just ten feet from our table, being stepped on. The guys didn't see it, and were much too busy being self-important to notice it.

We conferred quickly among ourselves, then called the waitress over. She looked frazzled. "Don't look now, but there is a bill on the floor, on the other side of the table. We think it should be yours. Somebody must have dropped your tip down there."

She smiled, and raised her eyebrows thoughtfully. "Thank you," she said, and strolled off.

We were worried. Would she take the suggestion we'd given her? Or ignore it? Give it to the obnoxious guys?

She appeared on the other side of their table, looking at her order book. We were all making subtle "look down!" "that's where it is!" gestures with our eyes and heads. She bent her knees and, smooth as silk, her hand slid beneath the chair and palmed the bill. We all grinned, trying our best to look like we weren't watching.

It was very satisfying! The money was never ours, and we are not even certain it belonged to the rude party - it was just there on the floor, waiting to be found. For the way they were treating her, the waitress deserved more - but the little game of espionage, of Robin Hood, moving the money to the most worthy party.... it was a good deal of fun. Sweetened our meal like dessert.
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johnridley From: johnridley Date: March 4th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Utterly justified and satisfying.
ms_hecubus From: ms_hecubus Date: March 4th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, I get why in your story some people might have looked at that as stealing the money. I don't, but I can see why.

However, the first paragraph reads like if I were walking down the street and saw a dollar on the ground to pick it up would be stealing. Am I reading that right?
mbumby From: mbumby Date: March 10th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great story. Good for you. Good for her.
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