Distinguishing the Bad Guys

A comment made in another thread reminded me of a story which I may have told before. In St. Louis as in many other American cities, the Italian neighborhood was known as “The Hill” (previously something much less polite). St. Louis’s Hill has produced many famous baseball players including Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola. The high school I attended was a just a couple of blocks from The Hill and some of my classmates were Berras and Garagiolas. The Hill still has some great Italian restaurants—it’s where fried ravioli originated.

Many years ago the owner of a construction company working on a project on The Hill had a problem with vandalism. Fences were being torn down. The windshields of some of his expensive equipment were being broken. Rather than hire security guards or complain to the police, he went to the parish priest and explained his problem. The next day the priest brought before the construction company owner two nine year old boys who confessed to causing the damage which amounted into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, quite a sum at the time. The construction company owner put the two kids to work to pay off the debt incurred by their damages.

I have pretty good reason to believe the story is true—the construction company owner told it to me as true. He was Lebanese and we attended the same Maronite church. But that’s another story.

2 comments… add one

  • Icepick

    What, you didn’t know? Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is the bad guy!

  • Andy

    I would be very surprised if your anecdote on the construction company could happen anywhere in America today. That requires a real community, something that is absent from modern atomized society.

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