He was stealing flowers, so I punched him

How I got the upper hand over an angry reaction.

Some Years Ago, I owned and operated a number of retail flower stores in New York City. Our policy was to display many items in front of the stores both to beautify the street and to increase sales. One of the requirements of this policy was to remain ever vigilant to theft. Though theft was infrequent, it was still necessary to stay alert. The best deterrent was always to have an employee posted outside to watch over, care for, and sell the merchandise. Most of the time this worked well.

One day while I was at the cash register of one of my stores, two women informed me that a man had just taken a bucket of roses off one of the display stands and was walking away. Impulsively, I thought the worst. "If I get my hands on that guy ...." I ran up behind the thief and hit him. He went sprawling, and the bucket of roses flew all over the sidewalk. As I stood in a combative position, I warned the man never to show up around the store again. But instead of confrontation from this thief, I discovered a scared man covered with water and deeply humiliated.

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January 12, 1998

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