Thank you, Mr. Diaz, For Reminding Us of True Humanity

Posted on February 24, 2014

I read a news article this morning because the title caught my eye. I decided to ignore the fact that it was originally printed in 2008 and let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. In this day and age, we are constantly bombarded with media stories of hate and violence- it’s not so crazy to say that sometimes it’s difficult to have faith in humanity. When there are ten news stories a day about robberies, assaults, and government scandals and only one ‘feel good’ story, what conclusion are we supposed to draw about the state of the world?

It’s easy to overlook the good. Someone let’s us merge into traffic or holds the door open when our arms are full of packages, we are grateful for a moment and then we forget. But, if someone cuts us off or slams the door in our face, the anger percolates.

The article I read this morning was called, “Man Buys Dinner For His Mugger.” It’s about a social worker, Julio Diaz, who was mugged on a subway platform by a teenage boy with a knife. Diaz handed over his wallet and as the boy turned to leave, Diaz offers his coat as well. The teen, totally taken aback, turns to face Diaz who invites his mugger to join him for dinner at his favorite restaurant. The boy accepts and is shocked by Diaz’s kindness to all he encounters. At the end of the dinner, Diaz tells his mugger that he has to pay since he has the wallet and at that point, the teen gives Diaz back his wallet. Diaz finishes his story by saying that he gave the boy $20 in the end- to buy the knife off of him.

This story struck a cord with me for a few reasons. First, the experience of being mugged is enough to scare the pants off any person. Diaz not only kept his cool, but was able to see the pain and need of the teen. But mostly, Diaz is incredible because he looked beyond the facade. Here was a kid, walking around on a subway platform with a knife, and he took the time to truly see the teen. He chose kindness over fear, and help over punishment. He is a true role model, and I’m sorry that I just saw this article now, but my wish is that there are many more like it in the future.

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