Arrastrada De Vuelta A La Tienda
La mujer no tenía ni idea de lo que estaba pasando. Se había ofrecido a pagar la compra de un vagabundo. Pero parecía que había hecho algo malo. Nunca la habían detenido.
No sabía que su buena acción acabaría en un giro tan cruel del destino. Nunca había esperado que le enseñaran una placa y saliera caminando hacia un coche de policía.
Señora, Venga Conmigo
El policía la había parado mientras compraba inocentemente en el supermercado en el que había comprado todas las semanas de su vida. No tenía ni idea de lo que podía haber hecho.
La anciana había estado allí el día anterior. Estaba preparada para el conflicto en cuanto el agente le dijo: “Señora, tiene que venir conmigo”.
¿Qué podía haber hecho mal? Pero no podía imaginar que volvería a ver al mismo hombre. Esta vez, parecía diferente.
Un día antes
Le contó lo que había pasado el día anterior. Un vagabundo esperaba en la cola con un cartón de leche y pan, pero cuando llegó al mostrador, había problemas.
Comprobó los bolsillos de sus pantalones, pero estaban prácticamente vacíos. Puso unas monedas sobre el mostrador, pero el dependiente negó con la cabeza.
Martha pensó que estaba haciendo lo correcto al intervenir.
Ella sólo había ayudado a un vagabundo necesitado.
Ni siquiera le pidió que se lo devolviera.
Le pagó lo que necesitaba. Pensó que el karma la recompensaría, pero no sabía que volvería para morderla de la forma más irónica posible.
Más De Lo Que Parece
Martha volvió al presente, donde estaba mirando al mismo vagabundo una vez más. Pero esta vez, la forma en que iba vestido le decía que había algo más en él de lo que ella pensaba en un principio.
Pero incluso en esta situación, seguía sin tener ni idea de por qué la llevaban hasta un coche de policía en el aparcamiento.
Pero la verdad sería demasiado para la anciana.
Martha no siempre fue una mujer de sesenta y dos años que luchaba por llegar a su próxima paga.
Antes de jubilarse, era una profesora a la que le encantaba su trabajo. Pero la vida no siempre fue tan fácil.
Se encontraba en una situación especial en la que seguía cuidando de su hijo, Patrick, a pesar de que ya era un adulto de veintidós años.
Su Chico Especial
Patrick fue y seguirá siendo siempre el niño especial de Martha, incluso cuando le diagnosticaron autismo a los doce años. Lo descubrieron tarde, pero Martha se alegró de que lo hicieran.
Su caso era tan grave que nunca sería capaz de desenvolverse como un adulto plenamente funcional.
Aceptó el hecho de que tendría que cuidar de él como una madre durante toda su vida.
Una Madre Soltera
Era difícil ser madre soltera a los sesenta y dos años y tener que seguir cuidando de su hijo como dependiente. Pero era una mujer de carácter fuerte que había pasado por muchas dificultades.
Perdió a su marido por culpa de un conductor borracho justo un año después del nacimiento de Patrick.
Lo lloró, pero tuvo que seguir adelante por su hijo. Pero su pensión no le dejó precisamente una fortuna.
Luchando por llegar a fin de mes
Aunque cada mes suponía un compromiso económico de un modo u otro, Martha se alegraba de seguir teniendo a su hijo a su lado, aunque sólo pudiera ofrecerle ayuda emocional.
Martha tendría que ser muy frugal y buscar cualquier oferta especial que tuviera su tienda de comestibles local.
Esto significaba que tenía que ir una vez a la semana o incluso más. Pero incluso en su situación, seguía teniendo un gran corazón.
Si alguien preguntara a los amigos de Martha, les dirían que tenía el corazón más grande del mundo. Era la primera en ofrecer ayuda a cualquiera que la conociera de cerca.
Nadie más habría conseguido sobrevivir en su situación, e incluso a veces prosperaba ofreciendo ayuda a los demás.
Sus amigos incluso la llamaban cariñosamente “Madre Marta”.
A pesar de su propia desgracia, Martha echaba una mano sin dudarlo. Era una dama dulce hasta la médula y nunca renunciaría a sus ideales por ningún motivo.
Aunque Martha aún no lo sabía, un día prestaría caridad sin dudarlo.
Pero nunca supo que se volvería en su contra cuando un hombre mostró una placa de policía.
La Tienda De Ultramarinos
Después de recibir el dinero de su pensión, iba a la tienda de comestibles de su barrio a comprar cosas que necesitaba desesperadamente.
Se fijaba en la fruta fresca y en el pasillo de los productos lácteos para encontrar algo en liquidación para ella y su hijo.
Después de encontrar buenas ofertas, compraba lo esencial, como pan y carne, antes de dirigirse al mostrador y pasar por caja. Pero hoy se pondría a prueba.
Aquel día de compras, Marta vio a un vagabundo que intentaba salir adelante. Se compadeció de él, pues sabía lo difícil que era salir adelante a veces.
Estaba frente a ella, en el mostrador, con un cartón de leche y una barra de pan en los brazos. No era mucho, pero bastaba para mantenerse unos días.
Pero lo que sucedió a continuación le rompió el corazón a Marta.
Nada Con Qué Pagar
Marta se dio cuenta de que el hombre tenía algún problema. Empezó a rebuscar furiosamente en sus bolsillos y, tras vaciarlos, vio un enorme agujero en la costura: esto no era bueno.
El hombre empezó a temblar y comprobó el bolsillo de su abrigo antes de dejar unas monedas de diez centavos sobre el mostrador.
El dependiente le miró fijamente antes de sacudir la cabeza con una mirada insensible. Martha supo que tenía que intervenir.
“Hola, señor. ¿Quiere que le ayude? Estaré encantada de pagárselos”, dijo con voz educada. “¡Muchas gracias!”, dijo él, relajando inmediatamente su postura.
“No puedo devolvérselos, ¿sabe?”, añadió con una mirada de incertidumbre en los ojos.
Pero la anciana madre agitó su tarjeta de débito sobre la tarjeta leída antes de decir: “Considérelo un regalo de la Madre Marta”, con una sonrisa.
Otra Buena Acción
El hombre sonreía al salir del supermercado con la comida en la bolsa. Marta se emocionó al ver que otra buena acción hacía sonreír a alguien.
Ella podía permitirse una barra de pan y leche extra cuando él lo necesitaba mucho más que ella.
Pero había hechos que la pobre anciana desconocía, y el hombre no era quien decía ser.
De Vuelta A Casa
Marta se dirigió a casa, después de haber pagado también la compra. Estaba emocionada por enseñarle a su hijo el último chollo que había encontrado escondido en el pasillo.
La tienda había etiquetado erróneamente una lata de ternera a un precio mucho más bajo. Según la política de la tienda, tenían que dársela a ese precio.
Pero cuando abrió las bolsas de la compra en la encimera de la cocina, se dio cuenta de que algo no iba bien.
Algo Que No Podía Ignorar
Marta se dio cuenta de que la leche y el pan que había pagado estaban en su bolsa de la compra. Eso significaba que el indigente no lo había recibido. ¿Tendría algo que ver el dependiente?
La madre, confusa, se preguntó qué estaba pasando. Todos sus artículos estaban allí también, así que ¿qué se había llevado el hombre?
¿Había formado parte de algo más grande de lo que pretendía?
Acosada Por La Culpa
A la mañana siguiente, Marta decidió que no podía seguir sintiéndose culpable. Pensó que el vagabundo iba a pasar hambre.
Decidió que lo único que podía hacer era volver a la tienda.
Allí buscaría las respuestas que necesitaba desesperadamente para volver a sentirse libre de culpa.
Sólo esperaba que, contra todo pronóstico, él volviera a estar allí. También sentía curiosidad por saber qué había pasado y cómo había conseguido su compra.
Seguro que no llevaba una bolsa vacía.
Si ella tenía su compra, ¿de quién era? Pero la anciana no sabía que se estaba dando por aludida y que formaba parte de algo mucho más grande que ella.
Getting Back To The Spot
Martha drove back to the store and started searching the parking lot and the aisles for the man from the day before. She didn’t see him, but something else caught her eye – another great deal.
She decided not to waste the gas in her car and started shopping. But the elderly woman had no idea that someone was looking for her as well.
Was she in some kind of trouble?
Taking It In
As soon as Martha saw that first deal, she was drawn in.
She had come all this way already, so she might as well take advantage of the daily deals that popped up.
She thought the homeless man could wait, but she had no idea that he was waiting nearby, waiting for the right moment to pounce on her.
Quite A Few Deals
As Martha strolled through the aisles, she realized that there were quite a few deals. And many of them were better than the deals they had the day before.
She looked around, surely this was some kind of mistake?
But the older woman had no idea that the specials were specially put there to draw her into a trap by the person she trusted the day before.
Couldn’t Pass Them Up
She wasn’t planning on spending any more money. But there were certain things that she simply couldn’t pass up.
She would normally have been suspicious, but who had her guard down.
A quick visit quickly became an extended stay, allowing the person who was watching her to take full advantage of the situation.
Didn’t Know What She’d Find
As Martha kept filling up her basket, she had no idea what she was going to stumble upon. She was about to find the biggest piece of the trap.
She saw a box of cereal for an insanely cheap price. She couldn’t help herself and took it off the shelf.
But that’s when she saw something hidden behind it. The trap was sprung.
Filling Her Basket
Martha was quickly filling up the basket that she had taken when she came in. But it was only when she was done that she realized that she was actually in trouble.
She saw a slip of paper behind the cereal but she didn’t pay it much attention.
But a gut feeling told her to take a closer look. She picked it up and started to read.
What Did It Say?
The note was a warning. But the old woman only got more confused as she read more and more of what was written on the paper. Was it some kind of threat?
What would the older woman find while she was waiting to pay? And how would the man’s presence affect her situation?
Would she be able to explain herself?
Called By Name
The note called Martha by her name. It was definitely meant for her, but she couldn’t quite decipher what it meant. She nervously looked around, but she didn’t see anyone around.
The old woman had had enough of people taking advantage of her.
She had a good heart, but she didn’t think she’d ever be in a position like this.
The note read, “Martha, this message is for you. I knew you’d go straight to the specials, so I hid this message here. I need to be vague in case someone else finds this.”
“When a man approaches you, you need to go with him. Trust me.”
The note finished off. Martha was confused and scared. Who was coming for her?
Putting It Away
Martha felt too old to deal with such stressful situations. She decided to put the note in her bag so no one else would find it and incriminate her. She didn’t want to look at any more specials now.
All she wanted to do was to go home. She decided to go straight to the checkout and leave.
She’d never find the homeless man at this point.
Heading For The Counter
After going through all the aisles Martha and taking advantage of all the specials, Martha headed to the checkout counter.
She was fourth in line, but that wasn’t what bothered her.
The contents of the note rang out in her head. She couldn’t wait to be home, but she had no idea that she was still being watched, and they were closer than she thought.
A Bad Feeling
As Martha stood in the line, she watched as the cashier slowly scanned the items in front of her. It was as if he was being blatantly slow. She needed to get out soon or she’d have a meltdown.
But she was unaware that the man mentioned in the note had locked on to her.
He would be breathing down her neck in just a moment.
A Man Behind Her
There was a man behind her, and he seemed to have a lot of interest in the older woman and the contents of her basket. What was he looking for?
That’s when it suddenly hit her. Was he the man from the note? She felt every fiber of her being freeze up.
Was today the day that she paid for a crime that she never committed?
A Missed Opportunity
At first, Martha wasn’t paying any attention to him. She was focused on the reason she had gone there, to begin with, and the opportunity she had missed.
She thought that if she believed he wasn’t from the note, then everything would be okay.
It was her only way to cope with the situation she found herself in.
But the man was making his presence abundantly clear, and she could no longer ignore him. Who was he? And why was he so interested in Martha?
She was about to find out the hard way that she shouldn’t have stuck her nose in other people’s business.
Everything circled back to the homeless man the previous day, even if she didn’t know it.
Facing Her Fears
After what felt like an eternity, it was finally her turn to check out. But things weren’t going to be so easy.
Martha had only put a few of her items on the counter when she felt a presence over her.
There was a man standing behind her, but she had no idea who it was. Finally, she mustered up the courage to face her fears.
She slowly turned around, hoping it was just another shopper waiting for her to move away from the vegetables. But she gulped as she saw a man in blue.
It was no ordinary man. In fact, she normally felt safe around people in uniform.
This time however, she could tell that it was different. He had his eyes fixed on her the entire time.
Martha’s gaze met that of the officer, and he gave her a firm nod. But that was nowhere near the end of their encounter. Martha thought she was in the clear, but she was wrong.
The man in uniform was actually only there to find her. He had an assignment with her name on it.
But what could the old woman have done to get the attention of the police?
Something To Say
The officer was still watching her and clearly had something to say even if Martha hadn’t noticed, and he wouldn’t let her leave until he was done. Martha was in trouble.
When Martha turned to unload the rest of her things, the officer grabbed her arm and turned her back around.
Martha let out a scream, but it was silent. The old woman was terrified.
Looking For Her
“Mother Martha,” the officer said with a cunning smile. “We have spent quite some time looking for you.” Martha frowned at his words.
The only people that knew her nickname were her friends. Then she realized who else she had told just yesterday – the homeless man.
What had he done? And why on earth would the police be looking for her?
What Did She Do?
Martha thought about everything she had done during the last week. But she couldn’t come up with a logical reason for this intrusion.
She didn’t do anything wrong. Or did she? She thought about how the homeless man hadn’t left with the items she bought for him.
Did it have something to do with that?
Was She In Trouble?
The only thing that could come to Martha’s mind was the incident that took place the day before. She had only meant to do a charitable act, not cause any pain or sadness.
But she didn’t mean to take some of the things she had bought for the homeless man.
It was a simple misunderstanding that she wasn’t even involved in.
Had He Inciminated Her?
Was that what this was about? Did the homeless man file a complaint against her? Or was there something more sinister going on around here?
She couldn’t imagine the police coming to get her over an honest mistake. Maybe the homeless man was up to something worse at the store and he inciminated her as being involved. Martha wanted to cry.
She Hadn’t Done Anything
Martha couldn’t believe that the man would do such a thing. She did try to help him, after all. And she even came back to give him the things that accidentally ended up in her bag.
Would the officer understand that? Or would she just be considered guilty because she had them?
If only Martha knew what was actually going on there.
It Must’ve Been A Mistake
Martha started explaining herself to the officer, but he simply shook his head, cutting her off mid-sentence. That was when Martha knew she was in serious trouble.
The officer’s mind was clearly made up, and nothing Martha said would change it.
But why was he really there? And why was he actually looking for her?
Escorted Out Of The Store
She was ready for conflict as soon as the officer said, “Ma’am, you need to come with me.” What could she have done wrong?
But she knew better than to refuse an officer’s request. Things would get ugly if she didn’t comply.
She reluctantly cooperated and followed the man out of the store.
A Polite Request
But there were a few things Martha picked up on while she was making her way out. The officer’s request was polite. Not harsh and demanding.
His tone was also calm, even though it left no room for argument. Something about this situation didn’t add up.
There was more to it, but Martha couldn’t figure out what that was.
Another thing that Martha picked up on was that the officer didn’t even try to cuff her. He didn’t reach for his cuffs once. What did that mean?
Was she in trouble? Or wasn’t she? But there was one more thing that left Martha dazed and confused.
What the officer did while they were still in the store left Martha utterly confused.
Letting Her Pay
The officer not only waited for Martha to pay for her groceries. He also helped the cashier pack them and carried a few bags out of the store for her.
This action was the one that confused Martha the most. If she was in trouble, why would the officer be so kind to her?
Or was this just a part of the “good cop, bad cop” act she had heard about before?
When all was said and done, the officer helped Martha load the groceries into her car. After that, he escorted her to his cruiser.
That was when Martha realized that there was something else going on there. This officer had a purpose, but it wasn’t to arrest her.
He had something far bigger in mind.
Flashing His Badge
The man in power had flashed his badge, asserting his authority over Martha. Was she being arrested? She was about to get the answers she was looking for but in the most unexpected way.
She was escorted outside of the store to where a patrol car was waiting outside.
But that wasn’t the only thing; there was a familiar-looking man standing in front of it.
The Same Man
Her mouth fell open when she realized who she was staring at.
It was the homeless man from the day before, except now he was actually quite handsome.
He cleaned up well, but that was only the start. The most surprising thing was what he was wearing – an identical uniform to what the police officer who escorted her out was wearing.
What kind of trouble had she gotten into? She wondered as she stared at the man in shock.
She knew that if she had to go to jail, no one would be able to look after her son. That was what scared her the most.
It was clear that she had put her nose in business she should never have. But the man opened his mouth and offered an explanation.
A Moment Of Silence
She thought about her baby boy being taken away to some kind of mental institution because of his condition. That enough made her want to fight back against whatever she was going to be accused of.
His expression was stern, but after a moment of silence, he smiled and opened his mouth to say something outrageous.
Martha would never forget it.
“Hello, Mother Martha,” he said with affection in his voice. “I wanted to say thank you again for yesterday; you really saved me and my team.”
Was she being thanked? But she still had no idea what was going on. “Let me shed a little light,” the officer said with a serious look on his face.
He was about to let her in on a little secret.
“As you can tell, I’m not homeless.
I’m a regular working stiff who has to do some creative things to get my job done, and you really helped out yesterday,” he explained.
“Call me Detective Castellanos. I’ve been working undercover as a homeless man for months, and you helped me crack the case I’ve been working on.”
Officer Castellanos explained that he knew the store had been robbed three times in the last year, but they could never figure out how.
It seemed it was an inside job, and the only way to figure that out was to go undercover.
He posed as a homeless man to get a better view of the situation. But yesterday, he had managed to sneak some crucial evidence out of the store, thanks to her.
The security tapes for the cameras had mysteriously gone missing every time the store was robbed. But after some digging, Castellanos had hit the jackpot.
The tapes were hidden in the store by the robber, and he had found them. But there was one problem.
While undercover, he couldn’t walk out of the store with the property, or he’d cause suspicion.
Castellanos had snuck the tapes into his bag, but the issue came when he couldn’t actually afford the other items he was buying. There was an unforeseen problem.
The hole in his pocket was a little too authentic, and his money had fallen through.
But that’s when Mother Martha came in to save the day.
A Lifelong Friend
He congratulated her on assisting them. With the footage, he found the culprit – the same clerk that stonewalled him the previous day.
He got Martha out of the store before going in to make the arrest but told her she’d be compensated for her help and always be a friend of the police departments across the city.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.