Man Befriends His Mugger

This story’s been going all over Facebook, but if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a great read.

Last month a teenage mugger approached Julio Diaz as he exited the subway and pulled a knife on him. Diaz gave him his wallet, and here the typical story departed from the script:

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.”

Read the whole story: “A Victim Treats His Mugger Right” (@NPR)

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Dwightk December 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm

last month or maybe March 2008 ;)

Bill M December 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm

If that is not urban myth it is a great story… It is something Jesus told us to do; that is giving up the coat.

Alex Spaulding December 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Excellent story. Really shows us how to witness to others and show them what it means to be a true man.

Julio CG December 6, 2011 at 1:11 am

Incredible story. Truly beautiful and inspiring.

John December 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

Nice story and good ending. Would not happen with me, having concealed carry here in Tx, would have drawn my firearm before my wallet would ever come out.

Not John December 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

… And that would have been quite a different story, no? Which world would you rather live in?

Chase December 6, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Truly Inspiring. If this isn’t true, then it is defintley a great story I will be telling my friends

dave December 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

This is an inspiring story. It is unfortunate that more situations can’t have this type of outcome. But a man also has to be prepared if he cannot take this type of approach.

The mugger in this story today from Chicago found out what can happen when you try and rob (at gunpoint) a person who knows how to handle themselves (even when they are unarmed). This was a feel good story if I ever heard one!

Matthew December 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

This is an amazing story. It’s a story that we’ve all heard could happen, but nobody believes “it could work for me”. I’m inspired to actually live out the lessons I’ve learned in my head but never lived in my life.

And to John and NotJohn: Let’s not turn this into an argument. This is an awesome story of reconciliation against all odds. Let’s choose to mirror that ourselves, even if it’s just in a comments page.

John December 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

My only comment is to look back at the story right before this one in the trunk about a boy shooting his moms attacker with a bb gun. The comments praised that kid for his action in saving his mom. I would show in force to the kid that pulled a knife and have him decide the next outcome. Nothing in wrong with defending yourself. If he is man enough to pull a knife on an adult, he should then be prepare for that person to pull their item of choice in response. No arguing here.

Texian December 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

that is known as “a wake up call”.

The next time, if there is one, the “kid” walks down the path, he might not wake up after his next encounter.

To “Not John”, i would rather live in a world where I didn’t have to prove humanity exists to criminals.

Dealing with criminals on a daily basis at work, I tend to find them quite willing to accept any sort of break or forgiveness you will allow them. Regularly and consistently.

Spence December 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm

This is a very interesting story. Makes you think of the values you learn by looking at the good book.

Kenny Hendrickson December 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I question the validity of that story. Although it sounds good, it sounds TOO good. As with everything else, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” (I’m from New Jersey) Nice sentiment, though. And I agree with Alex Spaulding, it does embody what it means to be a true man.

dunsjenny December 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm


Travis December 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I Snopes’ed it, but did not find anything, so thus far, it could go either way.

I’ve heard a similar parable involving the Buddha, too. Cannot remember how it goes for the life of me.

Tyler December 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

Doesn’t matter if it changed the kid.
Doesn’t matter if it was true.
Doesn’t matter it was a futile attempt at the lost hope that people are inherently good.
What matters is that it’s damn manly; and as long as there is a notion of manhood left in society, like a man’s last bit of will to survive, then there’s promise… manly promise.

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