Exhale

An amateur runner tracks down a thief, invites him to coffee

Edmonton local, Tess Aboughoushe, was walking back to her office one good afternoon when she heard a scream. What followed was a mix of “Bourne Ultimatum” and “Pay it Forward”.

The screeching scream came from a lady who was having her purse snatched by a thief.

Aboughoushe, who is an amateur runner and marathonist, automatically entered beast mode and sprinted without hesitation in pursuit of the purse-snatcher.

She chased the guy a couple of blocks until she cowered him into an alley. The man then confronted her with one hand deep in his pocket, suggesting he had a knife. Instead, he handed over his small haul, scrunched inside his blue parka, and started to sob.

Just an hour later, both criminal and persecutor were having a coffee in a nearby café.

“I offered the guy a coffee because you could tell he was very distraught and upset,” Aboughoushe said to CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“He wasn’t leaving or running away but just looking very lost.”

Aboughoushe has attracted a lot of media attention since Valentine’s Day, when she posted a picture of the unfortunate fellow along with her story on Instagram.

“I’m walking back from my chiro appointment and a woman begins screaming and I see a man taking off and she yells that he took her wallet, just like in the movies and I chased him down.” she wrote in her post.

According to her account, the man apologized “100 times” and said “he’s never done something like this before,”

The man told Aboughoushe he was stranded without a nickle to his name. He’d been visiting Edmonton with some friends from Calgary but they abandoned him with nowhere to stay and no means to get back 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.’” recalled Aboughoushe.

The hero marathonist then gave the man directions to the public library, where he could be helped by social workers.

Aboughoushe did report the incident to the Edmonton police later that afternoon, but she stated she has no intention to get the man punished.

“You kill more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” she said.