Erika Martin gives care packages to the homeless in her spare time. The Bay Area woman does things like that because, as she told KPIX of San Francisco, “It makes me feel good, you know.” On Sunday evening, July 29, Mrs. Martin decided to give one of the homeless men she helps—a man who frequents a Safeway in the Mountain View area of California—some dog food for his dog. As she sat in her car in the parking lot, listening to gospel music in her car, waiting for her son to come out of the Safeway, where he had popped in to see if there were any cookie samples, Safeway employees called 911.
Martin says that after her son returned to the car, "several" police officers arrived and blocked her car in. Martin found herself having to defend herself from the strangest of accusations: that she “fit the description of someone taking items out of Safeway,” and bringing them to her car—she was wearing a completely different shirt. Police also told her that employees of the Safeway had accused her of working with a man and a group of kids.
Martin never went into the Safeway as she was just there helping to deliver the dog food care package to the homeless man who was outside of Safeway. Her frightened son was the only “kid” to go inside and didn’t take anything. According to KPIX, Martin says that the manager came and apologized to her and promised a similar sentiment would be personally expressed to her from Safeway’s corporate office. Martin says she hasn’t heard from corporate.
Meanwhile, a Safeway spokesperson told the news station that they were investigating why Martin was the one reported to police, adding that workers had called police because a man who had stolen before had returned to the store.
Does any of that statement make sense to you? Is Safeway saying that Martin was reported as a mystery man who had returned to the store? Are they saying that the police took it upon themselves to bother Martin even though the store had called in a report on a man not fitting her description. There are a lot of unanswered questions. Martin told the station that she wouldn’t ever be returning to that Safeway.
Mountain View is a name you might remember as the home to little mom and pop shops like Google and Mozilla Firefox.