I stole a phone by mistake

I love and enjoy your column. I have got a terrible heartache. One day at our work place as we were having lunch, one of my colleagues was bragging about the application on her new phone. As we stood up to go back to our offices her phone fell and she did not see it. I took it and hid it in my bag, I meant to prank her and then laugh it off as a joke later.

I never told anyone and nobody saw this when it happened because it was so quick. After she found out that she had no phone she went round asking, surprisingly not even one of us thought of calling her number. She was upset and spent the afternoon crying. I wanted to teach her to be more responsible with her things even pabasa ane mbiri yekuita misplace even important documents. In my mind I thought I would give her the phone the following day during lunch then we would all have a hearty laugh.

When I got home I looked for the phone and it was nowhere to be found and by now it had gone off because of not being charged for a long period of time. I changed my handbag and went to work the next day but nyaya yanga yaipa. People saying this and that and the prime suspect was the lady she shares an office with.

I kept quiet but I was confused and I did not know what to say but I felt so guilty even though I had not deliberately stolen the phone. This happened on January 10. Notices have been put in our offices to look after our belongings because someone’s phone was stolen.

Recently I used the same bag I had on that fateful day and I found the phone, it had gone into a torn bag lining. Now I do not know how to give it back. What will I say? Who will believe me? What happens to this lady who has been painted as a suspect? The story is all but over can this be rectified? What will people say now that the joke has backfired? Please assist how do I clean this mess, ndinoendepi hangu?

Response
Thank you for writing in, the position you are in is a catch 22 situation. It is very sad and unfortunate how some people are quick to pick suspects without considering motive or having any evidence. What did she do to deserve this? The phone went missing during a lunch break and this woman was not even in the office, so why her? In life we should learn to only act when we are a hundred percent sure. So many people have been blamed for things they did not take. Can you imagine if the owner had engaged the law enforcement agents how embarrassing it was going to be to the suspect and her family? I hear you when you say this was meant to be a practical joke but I will tell you point blank that this was a joke in very bad taste.

Why did you not own up? You let people blame the other lady when you knew the truth. You behaved as if you have no conscience at all. It was far better for you to have told her the truth even if you could not find the phone. The blame would have rested on you. The mistrust that you have brought between the two ladies who share the same office cannot be under estimated. This joke was really far-fetched the owner of the phone spent the afternoon crying but still you were not moved. Jokes are meant to provoke laughter if you did not know. My advice may sound harsh but as far as I am concerned there are no two ways about this.

Take the phone back and tell the story as it is and apologise to the two ladies unreservedly. You may even need to speak to one of the bosses and apologise for raising a false alarm. Always remember the adage “kamoto kamberevere kanopisa matanda ari mberi”, honaka zvawakakonzera. Your behaviour implies that had you not found the phone you would have just kept quiet. You have caused a lot of humiliation and traumatised innocent colleagues. Engage the service of a counsellor so that you are assisted.

I also suggest you give her back the phone guaranteed it is in working condition, if not volunteer to make payments towards buying a new phone in order to show that you are truly sorry. My advice to you is please when you joke never fall off track ingofarai musingafarise. Pray about this incident so that God takes control.

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