Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Victim Treats His Mugger Right

--by Serendipity, posted Mar 28, 2008
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome.

"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says. "The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"

"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'"

Diaz replied, "Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?"

"Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way," the teen said.

Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. "He just had almost a sad face," Diaz says.

The teen couldn't answer Diaz — or he didn't want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."

The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I gave him $20 ... I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know."

Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen's knife — "and he gave it to me."

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, "You're the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch."

"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."

[ Original Story on NPR ]

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Readers Comments

thinkers wrote: Just an amazing story. I just can not move from where i sit. No words can express my feelings. God bless you.
jslocum222 wrote: Truly calm and empathetic. Don't know if i could have carried that off. Bravo for your example.
shelly-ann mcdonald wrote: I, am frm jamaica n am a sevanth-day adventist n i luv ur show am 15yrs old i hope i still serve god
cinnamonhead wrote: i'm glad it worked out well. maybe if we all treated each other that way the crime rate would go down!
Dazzle wrote: Most people would not have thought the way that you did. You probably created a life-changing event for that teen. It must feel wonderful to know that you have probably changed someone's life for the better and helped them onto a better path for their life.
M.D. wrote: Wow, that is really wonderful. It is so inspirational that someone took "random acts of kindness" and "treating other people right" literally. I mean, this guy just took kindness to a whole new level. Thats great!
Wayne wrote: Just stumbled across this site, and started reading the stories. Beautiful, uplifting, reminding us of what is important in this fleeting life that we all share.
Thank you for these stories. We all can use them.
Peter wrote: Julio, with a focus not on the material and physical world but on the inner world of mind and compassion you free your action from "owning" something. I think that freedom gave you energy, fantasy and the will to benefit for the soul, mind and wellbeing of that boy, how in return lost his own focus on the money and opened up his mind.Altruisme save us all. If you are down one day, remember your altruic action are unpayable inspiration that keep growing the warm in our relation. A real gift!
Miss.Jae ... Bx wrote: That was a truely a heart felt story. It's true people all need to feel they are cared about by someone, even if it's a stranger. May GOD continue to bless and guide Mr.Diaz as well as the young man. We all need guidance at times.
anguyen wrote: Thank you for the reminder that no matter what the situation it is always important to be kind. I just think of that young man and know that you deeply touched his life, and maybe you were the first to do that.
Thank you for the reminder.

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