A ‘case of the cringes’ prompts newspaper apology

  1. Listen What do we regret?

If you’re like most people, you probably have the occasional head-shaking moment when a memory of something you did as a kid causes a moment of guilt and self-loathing.

Tom Caldwell, CEO of Caldwell Securities Ltd., of Toronto, does.

That’s why he took out this ad this month in Canadian Jewish News.

“I just walked by him and punched him . . . he was just sitting,” Caldwell tells the Toronto Star, although he’s not completely sure the kid’s name was Howard Rosen. “The principal called him in after, but Caldwell told him his hand had slipped.

“I still remember that inane excuse,” he said.

Caldwell is 72 now. He was 7 at the time.

“A friend of mine once said to me ‘Do you ever get the cringes,’ and I knew exactly what he meant. It’s one of those ‘Oh my God, I didn’t do that, did I,’ ” he said.

Appearing on a CBC broadcast today, Caldwell says he didn’t grow up in an anti-Semitic household; he just figured he picked it up somewhere.

“I felt badly. Poor little kid. He’s sitting at school and he gets whacked. It must been of great hurt and upset to him.”

Caldwell said he knows it must have upset Rosen’s parents as well and said it’s possible they may have moved their son to a different school after the punch. He said he doesn’t remember seeing him at school after the incident.

Caldwell said he wanted to apologize but at first didn’t know what to do and then he decided on the ad.

“I’m in the investment business. One of the things I’ve learned a long time ago is if you make a mistake, clean it up and drive on,” he said.

“Maybe it’s nice to know for people who have been bullied that people do change. They do grow. They do feel sorry for things they did wrong.”

He said he hopes his story leads others to apologize when they get “the cringes.”

Discussion point: What gives you “the cringes”?