LACONIA — One day this past summer, fourth-grader Jet Wang was at Shang Hai Restaurant while his mother and restaurant owner Hong Yan was working.
He said he was visiting with his "Auntie Annie" — one of Yan's friends — and "I was dead-on bored" so she suggested the two of them go to the New Hampshire Humane Society in Laconia to see some of the animals.
Jet said when he returned to the restaurant he told his mother he wanted to adopt a dog. Yan explained that the family works 12 hours a day, every day in their restaurant so a dog was out of the question.
"We just don't have the time," she said.
Undeterred, Jet came up with the idea of raising money for the Humane Society by putting a "swear jar" on the bar. Every time one of his mother's patrons curses, he or she has to put some money in the jar for the Humane Society.
The goal was to raise $200 for the Humane Society and one of Yan's regular customers said he would match up to $200 if Jet and his "swear jar" could raise that much money.
Yan said she too would match Jet's $200.
Last Sunday night, some young people stole the money from Jet's "swear jar."
Jet said he was visiting with some of his mother's patrons and saw the two men, who he said were accompanied by a young woman, hovering near the jar. The next thing he knew, the folding money was gone from the jar and so were the three customers. The jar was clearly marked as a fund-raiser for the Humane Society.
"I was angry, mad, and kind of sad," said Jet when asked how he felt about the theft.
Yan said she reported the theft to the police but all she really wants is for the two men who took the money to return it.
"We just want the money for the animals," she said. "And to give back to Laconia."
Yan said her family has been in Laconia for 25 years and the community has been so good to them that they wanted to do something for Laconia and the Humane Society.
Yan also said she wants her son to understand the idea of helping others and giving back to society. She said winter is a particularly hard time for the Humane Society and the money was going to buy blankets, paper towels, food and toys.
Jet, who is a fourth-grader at Holy Trinity School, said he also learned a lesson about honesty.
"The teachers tell me to be honest and these people were not honest," he said.