Former Goodwill store employee Andrew Anderson says he was inspired by the august organization's spirit to offer the most needy patrons a discount so they could afford store items for themselves and their families. But Goodwill had him thrown in jail just the same.
Authorities in Collier County, Florida, arrested the 19-year-old and charged him with grand theft after the Goodwill Retail and Donation Center in East Naples informed deputies he had been cutting prices for those in need.
"People would come in on bicycles — wearing all of the clothes they had, coming in with $2, $3 max," Anderson told NBC 2. "I wasn't actually stealing. Goodwill is a giving and helping company, so I took it upon to myself to be giving and helping because I feel people deserve it."
But a spokesperson for the donation center told the news station Anderson's actions contradict Goodwill's mission.
"Our stores are not around to give a hand out, they're around to give people a hand up by providing funding," said Kirstin O'Donnell. "In incidents like this, we always prosecute and the reason why is when people steal from Goodwill, they're not stealing from the company, they're stealing from the mission of our organization."
According to Goodwill's website, the nonprofit's mission is to "enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work."
Earlier this year, Watchdog.org released a report showing that scores of Goodwill stores around the country paid employees less than minimum wage, while "top Goodwill execs pull in six-figure salaries."