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How do you steal back an item that should never have been stolen in the first place? Reddit user valiantfreak's dad should be given a medal of honor for his stealth maneuvering in the recovery of a pen that had been given to him as a gift.

Read on to see how this proud man recovered his sentimental writing tool without force or humiliation.

Dad is a principal at a school, and has been for a long time.

One day some lady arrives and expresses an interest in enrolling her son. Principal Dad is speaking with her, gets her some forms to fill out, even offers her his special pen. The pen is a nice stainless steel job that was given to every member of the executive staff on the school's 25th anniversary. It even says "[school name] Celebrating 25 years 1978-2003" on the side.

Anyway, lady and her son fill out the paperwork and go on their way, at which point Dad realizes his pen has also left. Clearly the pen wasn't a gift; it was obviously more expensive than a plastic hotel pen.

Fast forward to the next week when the lady arrives to drop her son off for his first day at the school. Principal Dad waits for Mrs Pen Thief and gives her the Emergency Contact Form to fill out. Normally this is given to the kid to fill out but Dad was hoping to see the pen again.

Sure enough, this silly lady forgets where she stole the pen from and out comes the 25th Anniversary Pen to fill out the form. The form completed, she puts the pen back in her handbag and hands the form back.

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This is where shit goes stealth.

"And now I just need to sign it here" says Principal Dad, patting down his pockets as if looking for a pen. Instinctively Mrs Pen Thief reaches into her handbag and offers him The Pen. "Thanks" he said as he signs on the bottom of the form (which was just a ruse, he didn't need to sign anything) and puts the pen back in his own shirt pocket right in front of her.

Mrs Pen Thief looks confused, opens her mouth, realises what has happened, and quickly closes her mouth again. She mumbles a thanks and scurries out the door.

I believe he still has the pen to this day.

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All that just for an item you could find fifty of when cleaning your house. Operation Pen is the slickest covert operation since Operation Paperclip. Hats off to you, sir!