Sticky Fingers

I stand in line waiting to order. The college cafeteria is booming with the voices of students and I see some familiar faces. Some are on cell phones, others talking to friends. I glance at the fridge to choose a beverage , but a girl with glasses, wearing a gray pea coat, is blocking the way. She opens the fridge door, takes out an Odwalla smoothie and slyly places it in her bag.

Did anyone else just see that?

As I move up in line, I notice she starts to circle around the metal shelves stocked with assorted snacks. She stops in front of a shelf and fumbles around with Rice Krispies treats. This is her way of giving off the illusion that she is shopping. She makes one lap around the shelves and looks toward the cashiers who are too busy handling customers to realize the girl’s intentions.

I move up again in line as she starts a second lap around the shelves. Should I say something? My heart thumps faster as I try to get the courage to open my mouth. But what should I say? Should I yell? Or should I quietly go up to a cashier and tell them what I witnessed? But if I get out of the line, I may not be able to order before my next class.  Why should she get away with this, though?

I would never steal because I wasn’t raised that way. Even if I am low on cash, I know that stealing is wrong. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many people steal in this cafeteria and get away with it. Two years ago, some of my friends wanted me to steal from the cafeteria and I didn’t feel right doing it. I couldn’t find it in myself to eat or drink something I didn’t pay for.

I move up in line again. I glance at the menu. With everything going on in my head, I forgot my order. I turn around to see if the girl in the pea coat is on the prowl for more goods, but she is exiting the cafeteria. I want to say something, but the right words are still buried somewhere.

“Excuse me, miss.”

Yes! Someone besides me did see her! I turn back around feeling relieved. But the voice I just heard was the cook right in front of me.

“Miss,” he repeats, “What would you like to order?”

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