The evidence was obvious — the broken lines hung from the car. Morrison screamed at the man not to take her tree, but to no avail. With her children mortified that someone stole their Christmas and crying in the car, Morrison returned to where she had bought the tree.
An unknown man evidently has not learned the lesson taught to most youngsters at a very young age — “It is better to give than to receive.”
Tannah Wiseman, 4, and her sister, Taylor Purdy, 8, of Pekin, Ill., were very excited when their mother, Angie Morrison, packed them into the car on Dec. 4 to go find the perfect Christmas tree. They browsed through tree after tree with the cold biting at their fingers and toes before finding the beautiful spruce that would be the centerpiece of their Christmas tradition.
The tree was strapped to the roof of the car with rope and the kids buckled in for the ride home. But the children learned a hard lesson that day: not everyone in the world is kind at heart and caring of others.
Tannah was upset when the lines that were holding the tree on the roof of the car broke, and the tree fell to the pavement. Matters went from bad to worse after her mother turned the car around to go back for the tree. To their disbelief, a man was loading it in the back of his truck.
The pleas of Tannah’s mother did not inspire the Christmas spirit in the man. He ignored her when she told him that the tree was for her children. The evidence was obvious — the broken lines hung from the car. Morrison screamed at the man not to take their tree, but to no avail.
With Tannah mortified that someone stole their Christmas and crying in the car, Morrison returned to where she had bought the tree. She explained to the clerk what happened and told her she would need another tree, which she again had to pay for — another $23 that could have gone for Christmas presents for the children.
“Oh, that’s a shame!” the employee said.
Tannah, now more composed and eager to tell her story, laughs about the situation. Of course, the replacement tree played a part in that.
“I was mad,” said Tannah. “Some guy took our Christmas tree… Mommy started laughing and she almost peed her pants.”
Morrison said there was nothing left to do but laugh at the situation and do what she could to explain what happened in the best light possible.
“I just told Tannah that, obviously, they needed the tree more than we did,” said Morrison. “Taylor helped comfort her.
“We went home and put up the tree. They put all of the ornaments at the very bottom, so it leaned. I had to adjust them some. That’s all I could do about it — laugh. There was nothing else I could do. The man looked at me and just took off. My oldest kept saying, he’s going, he’s going and then, he’s gone!”
Page 2 of 2 - Morrison is a single mother of two who recently moved and had to pay for the expense of the two trees out of her salary at Sally’s Beauty Supply. For her, the $46 she spent on Christmas trees that day was the equivalent of almost one day’s pay. The money for the second tree was money that she needed for laundry that day. Fortunately, she said, her ex-husband did the children’s laundry at his house.
“It did set me back,” she said.
Morrison used the experience to teach her children the values that the man who stole the tree obviously didn’t have.
“I used it to teach the kids not to steal and to be kind and help others when they are in need of help,” she said. “It made my oldest realize that stealing is bad — that giving is better than taking.
“After that, she volunteered to be a cheerleader for the Special Olympics games. She is in tumbling. She told me later that she felt it was important to help out.”
Taylor said she learned that stealing is wrong and that giving is important. Taylor said she helps out with the special education children at her school — going to the classroom and playing with them. The Special Olympics was her way of giving. She has taken the bad behavior of the Chistmas Grinch who stole their tree with a grain of salt.
“It made me feel good to do Special Olympics,” said Taylor. “I thought (the guy who took the tree) was nuts. I thought (the situation) was funny.”