A MAN ON HIS WAY TO DINNER in New York City found himself facing off with a teen and a knife. What started as a mugging continued with dinner and ended with the victim leaving with both his wallet and that knife.
“So I get off the train, I’m walking toward the stairs and this young teenager pulls out a knife,” Julio Diaz said in a recording he made on storycorps.net, a nonprofit website with the mission to provide people of all backgrounds the chance to record and share their stories.
“He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet,” Diaz continued.
His story, which was also featured on NPR, goes on to describe how after Diaz offered up his wallet he went on to offer the mugger his coat.
“If you’re going to be robbing people the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm,” Diaz said, also going on to add that the robber was just as confused then as when Diaz asked him to join him for dinner.
The teen, putting the knife away, agreed to join Diaz for dinner. After that meal, Diaz told the teen he’d have to pay since he was the only one at the table with a wallet (the stolen wallet).
The teen gave Diaz back his wallet so he could pay for their meal; Diaz had offered to treat. Before the two parted ways, Diaz even gave the teen $20 in exchange for his knife.
After telling his mother about the incident, he said she described him as the kind of man that if someone asked for the time, he’d offer his watch.
“If you treat people right, you can only hope they treat you right,” Diaz said.
My Take: Julio Diaz was faced with a situation that very easily could have been disastrous. He could have been hurt, or even worse — killed. At the very least, it could have been the start of the horribly frustrating process of getting over being victimized and then having to replace everything in that wallet. Once the offering of the coat and dinner was made, I’m pretty sure most muggers would have just run off with their cash-and-card windfall. Diaz must have seen some sort of desperation in this kid. Even though Diaz left with the kid’s knife and his wallet back (he didn’t say anything about the coat), there’s still a chance that the teen will again resort to crime and violence. But because of Diaz, there’s a chance — even a slim chance — that he won’t. And I’m sure that’s all Diaz can hope for. If that man’s kindness can cause one criminal to change, then the risk he took was worth it.
Listen to Julio Diaz’ story here: http://storycorps.org/listen/stories/julio-diaz/
Read the NPR story here: http://www.npr.org/2008/03/28/89164759/a-victim-treats-his-mugger-right