A woman in Canada took matters into her own hands when she saw another woman getting mugged earlier this month.
Tess Aboughoushe was returning to her office after an appointment with her chiropractor on Valentine’s Day when she heard a woman screaming for help, the New York Post reports. The woman — a complete stranger to Aboughoushe — called out, “Stop. Thief. He took my wallet,” and Aboughoushe, a long-distance runner, jumped into action.
“Just like in the movies, she screams and I see this man start to run. I didn’t stop to think or anything. I just kind of took off after the guy,” she told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.
Aboughoushe chased the man for two blocks before she caught up with him in an alley, where she found him hiding behind a dumpster. She was afraid that he might have been holding a knife and planning to attack her, but what happened next was even more unexpected: he began to cry.
“He came out from behind the dumpster and says, in a conciliatory way, ‘Here is the wallet, I can’t do this anymore, I’m sorry, just take it, take it,” Aboughoushe recalled.
The woman from whom the man had stolen caught up to them by that point, and Aboughoushe returned her wallet. Aboughoushe says that the man continued apologizing profusely and when she saw how distraught he was, she offered to buy him a coffee. The two walked together to Credo, a coffee shop in Edmonton, and he told her of his situation: he’d come to the city for a visit with friends from Calgary, but they’d left him stranded without any money. He had nowhere to go and no way to get home.
“He said, ‘I’ve never done anything like this before. I just really need the money. I don’t know where to go. I’m lost,'” Aboughoushe said. She ended up directing the man to a local library, where he could get help from the social workers on staff. Though she did report the incident to police later that day, Aboughoushe told reporters that she doesn’t want the man to be punished — she just hopes that he gets any help he may need.
“You kill more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” she said. “I wanted to show him some compassion.”