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Parisian Petty Thieves and the Kindness of Strangers

Dear Rudy,

Last summer, another teacher and I took a group of 16 middle school students to Paris. One evening after dinner, the kids asked to go to a café. We found a café that could accommodate all of us, and I ordered for the group. (I was the only one who spoke French.) Some of the kids took out their money to pay and put it on the table. Before any of us knew what had happened, a teenage boy walked by, slammed his hand down on the table and grabbed a 20-franc note from one of my students.

I was in the middle of telling the kids that this was a good (and cheap) lesson when a man rushed out of the café. As the kids were remarking about how terrible it was that this had happened, the man returned with the young thief by the scruff of his neck. The boy threw the money on the table, said "Je m'excuse" (I'm sorry), and walked away. I couldn't thank the man enough for restoring the kids' faith in the French people.




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