An Unpaid Debt

A Brooklyn man was once arrested for burglary and sentenced to several years in the state penitentiary. A few years into his sentence, the man escaped from prison and disappeared. Police detectives spent hours searching for him, following leads, and analyzing his escape, but to no avail. Although many detectives gave up on the case after several years, one young detective never gave up. Bit by bit, he tracked down every clue and kept searching for the escapee until one day, many years later, he finally found the escaped criminal.

Following him to a convenience store, the detective approached him from behind, laid his hand on his shoulder, and notified him that he was under arrest. Shocked, the escapee said, “What’d I do officer?”

“I know what you did years ago. I know how you broke out of prison, disappeared out west, got married, then came back to live with your family.”

Realizing his future would be in prison, the man asked the officer if they could at least go to his house so he could say goodbye to his family. Seeing the sorrow in his eyes, the officer agreed. When they arrived at his house, the man asked his wife, “Have I been a good husband to you? Have I been a good father to our children?”

“Why yes,” replied the wife, “you have. But why are you asking me this?”

At that point the escaped man explained everything to his wife, relaying past events he thought would stay hidden. He begged the detective to recognize how he had turned his life around and pardon him, yet the detective still handcuffed him and led him away.

While the escaped criminal may have lived several years as a law-abiding citizen and had demonstrated love and kindness for his family, he was still guilty of burglary and had not finished his sentence. He may have been good, but his good actions didn’t outweigh his past actions.