It's been said that no good deed goes unpunished, and ABC News reports that a 14-year old Florida boy learned that lesson the hard way. Last week, the boy, known as Edwin, went to the Burlington Coat Factory in Orlando where he saw a 3-year old girl without a parent. He told the child that he would find her mother. Edwin's mother saw him with the girl, asked him what he was doing, and he told her he was trying to help.
It was at this point he made his big mistake, thinking the girl's mom might have been outside the store in a group of women who were talking. Off Edwin went. The little girl followed. When Edwin saw the girl outside, he took her hand. His mom followed.
While Edwin was looking for the girl's mom outside, the mother was inside looking for her missing child. A customer told her the girl was seen leaving with a man (Edwin is a very large boy) and the mother rushed out of the store, just as Edwin was bringing the girl back in because he hadn't found her mom. Next thing he knows, he's being arrested and charged with kidnapping. Poor Edwin. I wonder if he had it to do all over again if he'd help. Probably not.
We've become so jaded by the criminals who run amuck in our culture that we can't recognize when someone is trying to help. Is it really likely that a 14-year old predator would take his mom along when trying to kidnap a child? Is it likely that after being outside with the child, a kidnapper would then bring her back into the store? Come on.
Now, Edwin has an arrest record and even though the girl's mom decided against pressing charges, the Orlando police say they are moving forward with the case.
Edwin, I'd sue.
This poor kid could have been on the street doing drugs that day. He could have watched and done nothing as a little girl wandered aimlessly in search of her lost parent. Had he just ignored her, he wouldn't have been subjected to the questions and charges that have been heaped upon him. Edwin's lawyer is asking the court to expunge his arrest and surely she'll get her wish.
In a world where we complain because no one will help his fellow man, it's tragic that when a teen tries to help he's treated like a thug. I understand why the store manager had to call the police, but the surveillance tape clearly showed that Edwin was telling the truth about the order of events. It's a hard lesson learned.
I hope in spite of all of this Edwin doesn't change. I hope he'll be willing to help the next time a child is in trouble. I hope that the officials in Florida do the right thing and make him a hero instead of a convict. Hold your head high Edwin. You did do the right thing. Perhaps next time instead of terrorizing a kid who simply tried to help, the cops should look to the mother and ask why her kid was running around unattended in the first place.