“I hurt for people all the time,” said Wanda Keeling.
It's a reaction most wouldn't expect, but when your name is Wanda Keeling -- and your heart is filled with unwavering compassion it’s not so unexpected.
“Whenever I get in a hurry, I mess up, and that day I was in a hurry and I made a big mistake and it caused them to do something really stupid and for that I'm sorry...I am; I can't help it,” said Keeling.
Wanda Keeling says she feels sympathy and empathy towards 20-year-old Nikita Ray and 22-year-old Donna Ray; two female suspects recently arrested for their involvement in a crime that left the 61-year-old feeling helpless, violated and $950 out of pocket. Police say two female teens were also involved.
“It just breaks my heart; I don't like seeing kids get in trouble,” said Keeling. “Someone asked me why I wasn’t angry and I’m not angry, it’s just my feelings are hurt because these girls are young. They’ve got their whole lives ahead of them; I’m 61 years old and I don’t want young girls like that to ruin their lives over something so stupid.”
At the end of July, surveillance video captured one of the teen female suspect's stealing Keeling's wallet just moments after she drove off without it. Not even 30 seconds later -- the footage shows Keeling driving back up to the ice machine frantically searching for her wallet. '
They saw what happened and they saw how distressed I was,” she lamented.
After Keeling drove back up to the scene, she says she asked the women if they saw anyone take her wallet.
“They looked me in the eye and told me they didn’t see anything,” Keeling added. “It would have been different if I would have never have showed back up, but I did and they had an opportunity to give it back.”
Both Donna and Nikita Ray were arrested and charged with theft. As for the two juveniles, both have been referred to the Juvenile Detention Center.
“I want something good to come out of this; I want them to learn you don't treat anyone this way," said Keeling.
Keeling hopes the crime is a wake-up call; and one that will reinforce a more positive role on the two teens involved.