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Guilt-ridden kid leaves note and $6 under man’s door after stealing snack from a vending machine

"I promise I will never do it again," they wrote. "I will also set a better example."
The note in question.
The note in question.u/mikehimself29 via Reddit

Sometimes sportsmanship is what you do off the ice as much as what you do on it during gameplay. 

On Oct. 6, Reddit user mikehimself29 shared a post titled “Found this under my office door, along with $6” in the subreddit r/MadeMeSmile regarding a note that he found on the floor at his job a few weeks ago. The Redditor, whose first name is Mike, works in an ice arena and opened the note to find $6 and an explanation for the correspondence: a guilty conscience.

“Dear [redacted] arena, on Tuesday night, I was watching practice. I saw someone stick there [sic] hand up the vending machine and steal a pop tart," said the anonymous stranger who wrote the note, adding that they were dared by others to try the five-finger discount for themselves.

“I made a terrible decision. I reached up and grabbed the crackers, and ate them,” the stranger wrote. “I take full responsibility for my dicision [sic]. I promise I will never do it again. I will also set a better example.”

The guilt-ridden stranger also included a six dollars with the note, and said that they weren’t sure how much the crackers cost, but they wanted to make sure that it was enough. “I also want to pay for the pop tarts someone took. I am very sorry,” they said.

Since sharing the note on Reddit, it’s gone viral, receiving 81,900 upvotes, more than 1,300 comments, and various special awards that Reddit posts receive from other users like the “wholesome award," the “faith in humanity restored award,” and the “heartwarming award,” among many others.

As to the possibility of anyone ever finding who wrote the now-infamous ice arena apology — and lutz of people do — that might be a pipe dream.

“I found the note under my office door when I arrived at work a couple of weeks ago,” Mike told TODAY Food. He said he wouldn’t be able to find out who stole what from the vending machine even if he wanted to since there’s no security camera set up in that area.

“This is a new problem we’ve been dealing with,” Mike said, adding that the ice arena he works at serves ages 3 up to 18, as well as some adults. “I suspect one person figured out they could reach the bottom row if your arm is small enough, and the word has spread through the kids.”

While the identity of the person who wrote the note is currently unknown, most Redditors in the comments section have assumed that the note writer is an adolescent of some variety.

In addition to applauding the person (however old they may be), commenters also shared their own anecdotes when conscience won over the youthful desire to be naughty.

“Well someone has been given good parenting. Yes they made a mistake, but they also realized their mistake and went to fix it,” noted one Redditor.

“I have a feeling good parents were involved,” surmised one Redditor, while another guessed “Mom caught them” in another reply.

“Young people are being given a lot of s--t for having no standards but there some really sweet kids out there doing their best. Bless this little champ,” commented one user.

“That person is going to be a better person for the rest of their life, because they’re going to look back and be sad they did that,” said another Redditor, sharing a story from childhood when they once were peer pressured to steal some candy, remembering that the guilt they felt from eating it to this day. “It’s something that has influenced my actions since then.”

“Acknowledging wrong doing, apologizing and making up for what you’ve done is difficult!” wrote another person. “I’m proud of this person for swallowing their pride and trying to doing better once they realized their mistake. Courage and honest matter.”

Also shared was an anecdote about someone who should have known better — an army recruit who found themselves in a sticky situation when they once tried to steal from a vending machine.

“I was in the army with this dumba-- who stuck his arm up to try and get a free soda,” another Redditor commented. “It got stuck and we had to call the German fire department. They came in and used axes to take off the door. Kid got in big trouble.”

As for how Mike feels about the whole situation, he’s decided to look at the whole experience as a net positive.

“I found it funny and kind of wholesome,” Mike said about the note. “Obviously, theft is theft, but I feel this young person learned a valuable lesson from it.”

And, as it turns out, the stranger actually overpaid for their stolen items.

The cost of both the crackers and the Pop-Tarts was “$1 each,” Mike said. The extra $4 was put into a donation jug for a local youth hockey league, he said.