Taking a Mugger Out to Dinner
March 2008 - At the end of his workday, a man stopped in the Bronx at the same subway station he always gets off at. Only this evening's commute was somewhat different than the rest.
While walking towards the exit of the station, 31 year old Julio Diaz was approached by a teenager who pulled a knife on him and demanded his wallet. Diaz complied and the teen began to walk away when Diaz called him back. Diaz then offered the teen his coat as well indicating that it was cold out and he would likely need it.
The teenager was caught off guard by the gesture. Diaz explained that if he's willing to taking a risk like that for a few dollars that he must really be desperate. Diaz is a social worker and at the end of his day, was still able to feel empathy and sense a person in need.
Diaz then said that he was on his way to dinner and asked if the teenager would like to join him. Taking him up on the offer the two sat together at a local diner. The teenager remarked at the fact that Diaz knew all of the employees who made a point of coming up to their table to say hello.
Dismissing it as his simply eating at the diner frequently, the teenager was surprised and almost taken aback at the fact that Diaz was so friendly and nice to everyone there. Manager, server, cashier, or dishwasher, it didn't matter... he treated them all with the same level of respect and kindness.
When they finished their meal and the bill arrived, Diaz told his guest that he would be happy to pay the bill, but since the teen still had his wallet he wouldn't be able to. Diaz never demanded his wallet back or anything of the teenager that robbed him that night. Likely responding to his genuine nature, the teen quickly returned the wallet he had stolen.
Diaz even gave the teenager twenty dollars before they parted ways that evening, hoping that his example and a little bit of cash just might help to make a somewhat of a difference in the life of this young man. His rationale was much like that of the Golden Rule, in that if you treat others well they'll hopefully be motivated to do the same.