She felt a tug on her purse. She turned suddenly, her hand
clapped on top of the hand on her purse. The hand belonged to a ten year
old bedraggled kid. Her eyes showed her surprise.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing my eye. I know what you’re up to. You were reaching into my bag.”
The kid, caught, was still and silent.
“You’re so young and trying to be a thief. Where are your parents?”
The kid shook his head.
“Why are you doing this?”
The kid’s eyes swept to the store they were standing in front of.
“Why are you stealing? What were you going to do with the money?”
The kid looked at the store again, “I…I…”
She had just become aware that they were standing in front of a fast food
restaurant. Her eyes fell on a poster in the front of the store, taking in
the picture. It was a picture of a large, steaming burger with a sign that
said, “Special: Jumbo Piggy Combo – includes soda and French fries, only
99 baht. Plus – get a large pig plush toy for only 25 baht.”
She remembered seeing a burger like this in a commercial. It showed a
group of kids eating burgers at a party and playing with the toys while
having a lot of fun.
“You were stealing from my purse to buy a hamburger?”
She looked into the restaurant. Many people were lined up to order food at
the counter. Most of them had kids with them. In the corner of the
restaurant was a play area for kids with lots of playground equipment.
Many kids were running and playing, shouting and laughing.
“Why? Have you not eaten?”
“That’s not it.”
“Every day I see other kids in the restaurant eating – they have toys too.
I want to try it for once.”
She pursed her lips. She led the boy by his hand into the restaurant and
stood in line.
A restaurant employee asked her, “What would you and your son like,
She asked the boy, “What would you like to eat, dear?”
He pointed to the picture of the burger on the wall.
“Would you like ice cream as well?”
The boy licked his lips. His eyes sparkled. She shook her head and paid.
She had to admit that the burgers smelled good – just like the
Five minutes later She watched the kid chew the burger, savoring it. “Is
this the first time you’ve eaten a burger?”
“Yes, not mm. Words need an ending and a beginning.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The boy munched away.
“Next time if you want something save the money and buy it. Don’t steal.”
The boy shook his head again.
She handed him the pig plush toy. “Take this too.”
She sighed and walked out of the restaurant.
The kid licked his lips, drank his soda until it was all gone, and walked
slowly out of the restaurant.
In front of the restaurant two employees were putting up a new poster. It
was a picture of steaming fried chicken in box. The sign said, “Special:
Super Rooster – includes soda, only 99 baht. Plus – get a large chicken
plush toy for only 25 baht.”
The little boy stared at the poster of the burger on the wall one more
time before walking away.
English translation by: Jennifer Weidman, 2004