Amy Colbert was at Walmart for some groceries and decided to use the self-checkout. The woman from Alabama had scanned her items like she knew she was supposed to and thought she had paid for her groceries. But the machine froze right before she walked away from the counter.
As she was about to step out of the store, arms pulled her back. They told her she couldn’t leave with shoplifted items. She explained that the machine had frozen, but her wrists were soon encased in cuffs. It was something they would regret doing.
Amy loved living in Alabama because of the fresh air and the wild fields. What she liked most was how welcoming the people were. It was her hometown, and choosing not to leave, she found a job working as a call center agent. Despite not being able to have children, she had been happily married.
When she and her husband divorced, she found a small apartment that would be perfect for her to live alone. The carefree woman got along well with most of her neighbors, but there was something else about Amy that she didn’t tell many people.
Amy found herself behaving differently after the divorce. It wasn’t something she was frightened of, but it was something that even her friends and neighbors noticed.
It had been a few months after the divorce, and Amy was rarely spotted leaving the house. She seemed to avoid visitors, preferring to be in her own company. Those who knew Amy wondered what had gotten into her.
Amy didn’t tell everyone about it, but she had confided in some of her closest friends when they asked her about it. After she told them, she knew to keep her mouth shut.
Amy kept it to herself, and her friends understood why. They kept her secret locked behind a chain and key for the sake of their friend. Living in a small town meant everyone else knew everyone else’s business and made assumptions that were most likely far from the truth.
The fact that Amy didn’t have the best relationship with her family wasn’t public knowledge. She rarely saw them and knew how they were doing despite living in the same city.
Amy didn’t like talking about them and seemed like she did whatever was necessary to avoid any mention of them. But as odd as her behavior may seem, she had her reasons behind it.
A Tough Childhood
Amy didn’t have an easy time growing up. When she lived with her family, she grew up in the city of Mobile, considered one of the toughest neighborhoods. Her family still stayed there, and there was no way she wanted to go back.
She had seen things that, at her age, she never should have. Most of the gruesome stuff she had witnessed would undoubtedly have left her feeling traumatized. They were things that were difficult to unsee and heal from.
The horrible things Amy had seen on the streets weren’t the end of her troubles. Her home had become a nightmare. Amy was part of the Colbert family, and everyone in the area knew about them, but they all knew to stay away.
Amy had spent her childhood in her uncle’s and her parents’ care. Unfortunately, Amy’s life was shaped by them and the horrible dealings they were involved in. It was something Amy wouldn’t be able to reverse or change.
What They Were Known For
Everyone knew about the Colberts because of all the burglaries they were responsible for. Some respected them out of fear, but it was difficult for others not to fear them and despise what they did.
Their neighborhood was safe from them. They preferred traveling to the wealthy part of town to do their jobs of breaking into houses and ridding them all of their riches. Everyone knew about what they did, but they also knew that anyone who snitched would be taught a lesson.
However, the Colberts thieving lifestyle ended when they were caught inside a mansion on the outskirts of Mobile. They were caught with their hands filled, and they were arrested.
Amy had to attend boarding school after her parents were sent to prison and stayed there until she was 18. Her parents were released twelve months later, but when Amy saw them again, it was anything but pleasant.
The Damage Was Done
Her relatives were happy to be released, but Amy had decided long ago that she was done with them. The life they had led and the crimes involved had done too much damage for her to even think of going back.
She knew her parents had shared their riches with her, some of which other kids would have loved. But that didn’t make up for how alone and sad she felt in her childhood. She decided she didn’t want to be part of a family like that anymore.
She Cut Them Off
Even though Amy tried to steer clear from her family’s endeavors from then on, word got to her that they were still doing the same thing that had led them to jail.
She didn’t want her name associated with them, so since she started working and being able to support herself, she reduced her visits and communication to the bare minimum required by common courtesy.
It took her a while to get over the trauma and resentment: but eventually, she made peace with her past and was just fine living alone, far from all the trauma and stress.
Plus, Amy had made a lot of friends in the area during her lifetime, so she never really felt lonely. But even though she was the nicest person, she would soon make an enemy—a very powerful one.
Her Life Was About To Change
So now, as a middle-aged woman without a husband or children and barely any link to her family, she was used to doing everything by herself inside and outside the house.
That included going to her closest grocery store and getting some food for the week. Little did she know that one of her shopping trips would forever change her life.
Loved By The Community
The middle-aged woman was a pillar in her community. Everyone loved her, and she often volunteered in neighborhood organizations.
So when the ordeal with Walmart happened, everyone who knew the woman was shocked. They couldn’t believe she could ever do that. People were sure the accusations were false. However, things took a turn for the worse shortly after.
Amy never got to know how it started. Still, word got around about her family and her past just a few days after she was accused of shoplifting in the grocery store.
After that, people started thinking twice before defending Amy’s innocence. What if it ran in the blood? Rumors began spreading and blowing things out of proportion. And that wasn’t all.
Amy had to live with the pain of knowing that, very likely, one of her friends was a sneaky gossiper who had been divulging her secret all around town.
She never found out who it was: but during those weeks, the suffering caused by the slander and the callous actions from the grocery store was made even worse by that feeling of betrayal.
Always Shopping There
Amy always shopped at that local Walmart. It was close to her home and had good prices and deals.
But one day, she would have the worst shopping experience of her life. Even though she was a loyal customer, the shop staff treated her awful. They were justified, though. They thought the woman had shoplifted. But was that really the case, or was it a giant mistake?
Sometimes self-checkout can be confusing or not all that user-friendly, especially if you don’t use it often. However, there’s usually an employee nearby to answer questions or assist with the checkout process as needed.
Amy used self-checkout to pay for her groceries at the local Walmart store. The woman scanned the items correctly, but it froze before she left the self-checkout machine. Something was wrong.
But She Didn’t Know
Amy didn’t think much of it; after all, she had scanned all the items and swiped her card. The machine hadn’t printed out a receipt, but she never took those anyway.
So she took her cart and got on her way to the grocery store’s exit. But suddenly, she heard a voice hollering behind her. She turned around; one of the store’s employees was running in her direction.
Stopped In Her Way
Right then and there, she was stopped by the employee and accused of shoplifting. She explained that she paid and the machine froze, but the staff didn’t have it.
They physically stopped her and told Amy that she couldn’t go because she had stolen merchandise and needed to face the consequences. The woman was in tears.
The staff of the local Walmart had Amy arrested. They called the Police, and two officers arrived at the scene.
They escorted the crying woman and tried to figure out what was going on. She was in a terrible state. She couldn’t believe this was happening to her. Amy kept explaining to everyone that she had paid, and the self-checkout machine just froze.
It took a lot of time until her case first appeared before a judge. Around a year later, Amy’s case was dismissed, but the drama was far from over. In fact, it was just beginning.
The woman’s ordeal was not going to end so easily. They weren’t done yet. The representatives of Walmart would make sure of that.
And to make things worse, rumors started spreading around town that Amy had, in fact, stolen something from the grocery store. All of a sudden, everyone knew about her family and her past.
“Like mother, like daughter,” people whispered behind Amy’s back. And that wasn’t even the worst part. Walmart was getting ready to get some brutal payback.
The middle-aged woman ended up getting letters from a Florida law firm threatening to sue her if she didn’t pay $200.
That was more than the price of the groceries she supposedly tried to steal. She refused to pay, but she didn’t ignore the letters either. She kept them, trying to devise a plan to get back at them for the way they treated her.
On Behalf Of Walmart
Apparently, the law firm’s letters were sent on Walmart’s behalf. Amy was baffled. How could this be? After one year, they still wanted money from her.
So the woman went to a law firm and decided to build a case with them. She was going to sue Walmart for their mistake. Would she get anything out of it, though? Or just waste her money and time?
When they investigated further, the law firm discovered something grim. According to the lawsuit, Walmart “engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely accusing innocent Alabama citizens of shoplifting and thereafter attempting to collect money from the innocently accused.”
That was worse than Amy thought. Walmart falsely accused people in Alabama of shoplifting on purpose, including her.
Hundreds Of Millions
Within a two-year period, Walmart made hundreds of millions of dollars with this terrible practice. Amy and the jury were baffled.
The woman couldn’t believe what she had uncovered. She was one of the thousands of people Walmart tried to scam in that period. She was a victim and not a shoplifter. Justice had to be made.
The ordeal was finally over. It was time for a decision from the judge and jury. Amy and her legal team were holding their breaths in anticipation.
While Walmart’s lawyers argued that everything they did was legal in Alabama, the jury still sided in favor of Amy. It ended up awarding her $2.1 million. That surely made them regret accusing her of shoplifting.
Amy never expected this type of payback. It was more than she ever dreamed of. All she wanted was to get justice and see someone take responsibility for how she was treated.
And that wasn’t all there was to it. There was a part about the end of this story that was even more satisfying to Amy.
A Happy Ending
All the slanderers had to swallow their words and watch her coming out on top, with $2.1 million more in her pockets and the pride of having uncovered a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the grocery store’s management.
The woman ended up donating a large sum of the money and continues to live a quiet life in Alabama. Everything worked out just fine for her in the end.
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.