Hey thief - we know who you are!


This was the notice put up in my gym the other day. It was 6.00 pm, a peak time, and the changing room was packed.

I looked around suspiciously, instantly confident that I'd located the thief - a young man, mid-twenties, shaved head, covered in tattoos. When he put on a hoodie, even lifting the hood up to partially conceal his face, before glaring at me as he left, I knew that was him - the thief.

Caricatures, caricatures, caricatures. As a writer, I recognise the danger. How dull the story would be if this first guess for the thief turned out to be the right one. So much more interesting if it's a close friend, a charming older man, always immaculately dressed, always smiling, and forever offering to buy others cups of tea and coffee or a glass of wine after gym. As a citizen, it's all too easy to pass judgement on people based on first appearances. We mustn't and it can take a tragedy like the Manchester bombing and the heroics of the homeless man to remind us not to.

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    © 2013 R J Gould