It’s probably safe to say that most of us have accidentally broken the law at one point or another. Maybe as a child you walked out of the store with a piece of candy hidden from your parents. Perhaps you’ve inadvertently parked your car in front of a fire hydrant. How about accidentally committing grand theft auto? That last one might be hard to believe, but a Canadian man did just that, 21 years ago, while making a Slurpee run to the local 7-Eleven.
In a recent story published by CBC News, Kevin Freeman provided the entertaining details on his accidental auto theft that occurred over two decades ago. Freeman, a Winnipeg-area lifeguard at the time, offered to run out and pick up some cool, icy beverages for his team on a hot summer day. A co-worker offered up her ’90s Taurus for the errand and provided him with the car keys. He proceeded to the parking lot, found the white Ford parked nearby, and was on his way after some minor fiddling with the key and ignition.
Before making his way to the 7-Eleven, Freeman visited the local police station to pay off a parking ticket. Strangely, the driver’s door was proving difficult to unlock, requiring the assistance of an officer to help him open it. “It’s all in the wrist,” the officer said. The Taurus’ ignition and locks continued to act up as he went on to pick up the Slurpees and make his way back to the pool, parking the car exactly as he’d found it.
The next morning, Freeman lamented that he’d somehow managed to damage the borrowed Taurus’ lock and ignition. As he went to apologize to his co-worker, Jocelyne, he noticed that it was still parked in the spot where he’d left it.
"I said ‘Jocelyne, I'm so sorry. What happened to your car? How come you left your car here last night?’ And she said, 'I didn't leave my car here last night.' And it dawned on me finally, at that point, that it wasn't her car. And I said, ‘That wasn't your car?’ And she looked at me and her eyes bugged out and she said, 'When you were gone yesterday, somebody reported a car stolen,'" said Freeman to CBC News.
As it turns out, the car Freeman borrowed the day prior had not belonged to his co-worker, but actually a patron of the pool. The Ford was reported as stolen, but when the owner and the police showed up to investigate the incident the following day, it was parked precisely where she’d left it, appearing completely undisturbed.
Freeman never went to the police with his side of the story, fearing possible legal consequences for his accidental car theft, but recounted the tale often with friends. Now, 21 years later, he’s made the story public in an attempt to reach out to the owner, letting her know that she hadn’t gone crazy all those years ago.
"It was the kind of experience that makes somebody feel like they might not be completely with it or maybe they thought that they made a mistake and they don't really understand how they did. So I wanted to let her know after all these years that this really did happen and that she didn't imagine it," Freeman told CBC.
In the off chance that you might have been the victim of Freeman’s mistaken joyride, he’d appreciate it if you reached out to him via Twitter, so he may finally clear his guilty Canadian conscience, because, yes, he’s still sorry about the incident to this day.