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In spite of Roger's attempt to rob her, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington does not call the police or punish him. Instead, she treats him with dignity, offering him food even though it is obvious that she is so poor that she can barely afford to feed herself. She asks his name, and tells him to wash his face. Then she gives him the option of leaving, but Roger decides to stay. It is Mrs. Washington's way of showing trust in the boy and giving him the option of his freedom. After he eats, the lady gives the boy $10 in order to pay for the blue suede shoes that he hoped to buy with his stolen money. As he leaves, he humbly tells her "Thank you, m'am."
Mrs. Washington probably felt a kinship with the poor African-American child, and she hoped that her kindness would offer him an example of goodness and spiritual guidance for him to remember in the future.
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