Adam Tewahaiti just wanted to help his pregnant partner with the supermarket shopping, so he borrowed a footrest from the store's wheelchair and secured it to his own.
He then forgot all about it - until three months later, when he got a visit from police.
He apologised and returned the footrest, but that did not stop police laying a shoplifting charge.
Tewhaiti pleaded guilty to that charge in the Napier District Court yesterday, but said he was "a bit disappointed" by the whole incident.
"Because they got the wheelchair feet back, I didn't see the point in them pushing the point," he said.
He told police that, with keeping an eye on the children and loading the groceries into the car, he forgot all about the borrowed footrest.
He was heavily medicated after a visit to hospital about the back injury he suffered when he crashed a tractor at work.
A few weeks after the trip to Hastings Pak 'n Save, his partner gave birth to their son. The footrest was the last thing on his mind, he said.
His lawyer, Alan Cressey, told the court Tewhaiti maintained it was a mistake but chose to plead guilty just to get it out of the way. He has a previous shoplifting conviction from 1997.
Judge Patrick Treston acknowledged that the previous conviction was 16 years ago, and ordered Tewhaiti to come up for sentence if called on within six months.
Hastings Pak 'n Save part-owner Aaron Smith said he was not familiar with the incident.
All shoplifting incidents were referred to police, who determined whether charges would be laid.
The supermarket had only one wheelchair available for customers' use.
Eastern District Police communications manager Kris McGehan said every case was taken on its merit.
The officer in charge could not be reached for further comment.
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