A number of people have responded with sympathy to the news report of an elderly man who was caught stealing from a supermarket in St. John’s.
The man, a pensioner, reportedly stole two packs of ling fish, valued at over $35, from the business place. However, he did pay for two canned items, one of which was a tin of beets.
The senior citizen was reprimanded and discharged by Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh after he told her that he had not received his Social Security pension for three months.
The man also explained that he had a number of financial obligations which he has been unable to meet; that he has to take care of his 85-year-old sister; and that he had offered to pay for the items after he was caught.
He told the court he did not know what came over him, causing him to commit the act.
Some residents say the supermarket should have shown some compassion and allowed the man to pay for the goods, since he offered to do so, on account of his age and the hardship he is facing.
Another man praised the decision of the court not to be hard on the man, who is facing tough times in what are supposed to be his golden years.
One woman says that a workable solution needs to be found to prevent such situations. She suggests that the Social Security administration could look at a debit programme, with some supermarkets covering weekly amounts for pensioners only.
Once the funds become available to the Scheme, the pensioners’ cards would be credited and the supermarkets would be paid.
“These are hard and perilous times and the thinking has to be outside of the box for our most vulnerable,” the woman says.
Yet another resident says this is a disrespectful and shameful situation that the Government has brought upon our elders, as a result of the continued late pension payments.
Another man posted online, “Instead of mandating vaccines that don’t actually work as advertised, how about mandating that Social Security ‘always pay’ on time or else somebody loses their job.
“When a man has to start stealing food because his own government owes him money, something has to change,” the critic says.