MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jim Brooks never thought his act of kindness would be met with cruelty.
“It, like I say, has never happened before,” he said.
The 77-year-old was outside his rental property on Avalon near Overton Park around noon Wednesday when a grey car pulled up. He said three teenagers got out and, to him, they looked lost.
“They got out sort of wandering a little bit,” he said.
He said they asked if he would make a call for them, which he thought was an odd request from teenagers.
“And I’m thinking they don’t have smart phones?” Brooks said.
But he felt like they were in trouble.
“Maybe a little bit like they’re in a hurry,” Brooks said. “So I’m thinking okay, I’ll help these guys out here.”
It was a decision Brooks would quickly regret. He said one of the teens went behind him as soon as he pulled his phone out.
“Just sort of shoved me against the car, grabbed my wallet, and the three of them ran back to their car,” he said.
But Brooks still had his phone.
“I sort of ran after them yelling, ‘I got your picture,’ which I couldn’t hit the right button to get their picture, so I didn’t have their picture,” he said.
And he couldn’t get their license plate as they sped away. At that point, all he could do is call 911.
“Before I could cancel my card, they had spent $30 at a shell station and $18 at Dixie Queen,” Brooks said.
Police are still looking for the teens, and whether they’re caught or not, Brooks hopes they’ll turn their lives around.
“They’re young,” he said. “They surely don’t want to start down a life of doing stuff like this. I guess I feel sorry for them.”
But Brooks doesn’t feel sorry for himself and said he won’t live in fear. After all, it’s the first time something like this has ever happened to the 77-year-old.
“If this happens once every 70 years, I’m okay,” he said.