Friday, December 31, 2010

Julie Hoy, Mall Cop

“Oh my gosh, I thought to myself, she’s stealing!”

One night I accompanied my son to the mall. He needed a haircut. While he was old enough to take himself, I thought I would tag along, and shop around a bit.

I headed down to the closest shoe store. Not really looking for anything in particular, I landed in the ladies section. I scanned the various styles and prices, but my eyes paused at the mirror hung at the end of the aisle. I was interested to see the reflection in the mirror was not mine, but that of the woman in the aisle that ran parallel to mine. Just a little curious, I watched her for a moment.  She was probably about my age, heavy set and wearing a robins egg blue sweat-suit. I was blown away when she took a pair of running shoes off the shelf, and in an instant shoved them, box and all, into the big shopping bag on her arm.

“Oh my gosh, I thought to myself, she’s stealing!”

My heart pounding, I thought, “I have to do something.”

As I pretended to be interested in a pair of shoes close to where she was squatting, I casually said,

“You should really put those back.”

“What?” She said in denial.

“Just put those shoes back and I won’t say anything to anyone.”

“What shoes?!” She said angrily. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“Yes, I said, I DO know what I’m talking about. I saw you take those shoes off the shelf and put them in your bag. You know it’s not right, and you should put them back right now.”

Well… as she launched into a round of expletives that would have made a sailor blush, I quickly stepped away and told the manager of the store he should go and see for himself what was going on.

Thinking the woman would be too embarrassed to stick around for anything further, I headed to the men’s section. My heart was pounding too hard to even think.

There she came, stomping at me, yelling her head off and shaking her fist. She announced that “I was crazy” and how she was going to kick my - you know what.

When she stood outside the mall entrance and continued her tirade. I knew she was really crazy. I wondered, “What had I done?”  As she headed for the main entrance of the mall I knew I had to make a plan. Mall security was quick to stand at my side. They were ready to do whatever they could to help me feel safe.

Fear took over and I worried, with the mall being only a mile from my house I knew I would never be safe. I just knew that woman would wait for me, follow me home, kill my pets and burn my house down… or something like that.

I calmed myself and decided to call my husband. Already nestled in his bed, he reluctantly brought a second car to the mall. I met him at another entrance, and drove his car home. He and our son left from the main entrance, hopefully unnoticed.

My son wanted to save me. My husband, God Bless him, wanted to sleep.

Q. Should I have confronted the woman?
A. Considering her obvious mental instability, probably not.

Q. What do I know to be true?
A. Thou shall not steal. Deuteronomy 5:19

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is people who deny what they know to be true. We are what we are. If we cannot accept who and what we are, and love living it… we should change.


  1. I like your story. I think you did the right thing. I think you are very brave. I think you would look really good in a robins egg blue sweat-suit.