I read a story recently in the Huff Post internet newspaper that was incredibly moving. It demonstrated the epitome of U Love on numerous levels, so much so, that I felt the need to share this story here with you. The account is quite extensive, so I’ll delve right into it, and subsequently give my thoughts on it.
As reported by the news article, after work one evening in New York City, a man named Julio Diaz decided that he wanted to grab a bite to eat at one of his favorite food joints. Diaz took the subway to the appropriate stop so he could easily walk to his beloved diner. Not long after exiting the subway, a male teenager came up to Diaz with a glimmering knife in his hand, and demanded to be given Diaz’s wallet. Diaz immediately handed over his wallet, and the mugger turned to walk away. But, before the teenage boy could take a single step, Diaz called out, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something.”
Stunned, the mugger turned to face Diaz to ask him what he could have possibly forgotten. According to the article, Diaz replied, “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 boy was astonished, and questioned Diaz’s willingness to be so kind after he had just been mugged.
Diaz simply went on to explain that if the boy was going to such risky lengths as to mug people, then he must desperately need money. And beyond that, Diaz strongly felt that this young teenager really needed help. So, Diaz invited his mugger to have dinner with him at the diner to which he had been headed before this shocking interaction took place.
The mugger was flabbergasted. Not only had Diaz kindly given up his wallet without a fight, AND offered his jacket to the mugger, but now he was inviting him to dinner!!! Who was this guy? An angel? It didn’t take long for the teenager to tag along with Diaz to the diner. It was a free meal after all.
As soon as the two entered the diner, the mugger witnessed Diaz being greeted with multiple friendly salutations, from the manager of the diner all the way down to the dishwashers. Diaz was obviously well liked in this restaurant. As Diaz warmly responded to each greeting, once again, the mugger was floored at Diaz’s kindness to everyone, no matter what rank or station they held.
In response to his mugger’s amazement, Diaz asked a simple question, “Haven’t you been taught that you should be nice to everybody?” This was a concise statement that cut through all of the religious theologies, theories, beliefs, and opinions swirling around our world today. It was a statement that brought everything into perspective in regards to human relations and interactions. It was a straightforward declaration of a way to show love.
This was a concept that the teenage boy had heard about, but hadn’t experienced in his life. He certainly didn’t think it was an actual reality by which people abide. What a sad notion. I wonder, is our world so devoid of love and kindness, that the age-old concept of “just being nice to people” has been lost? I hope not.
Fortunately, because of Diaz’s small acts of generosity to a would-be enemy, the mugger was beginning to see a new way of living. He was seeing a brief snapshot of U Love from merely one person that would, hopefully, transform him, and begin to change his world. This demonstrates that we, as individuals, CAN make a difference in this world, one person at a time, simply by starting to live the way God directs us. And, it all starts with U Love.
Getting back to the conclusion of our story, as the two diners received their bill for dinner, Diaz jokingly told his “dinner date” that he’d have to pay the bill since he had Diaz’s wallet. LOL. The boy immediately gave the wallet back to Diaz without hesitation. Diaz then paid for the boy’s dinner AND gave him an extra $20 on top of it. Diaz’s only stipulation was that the boy would have to give Diaz his knife (which he did).
Wow! Who would think to turn this situation around by showing such kindness, love, and generosity to one’s offender?? There is much to think about and learn from this incredible story of love. I can’t wait to give my many thoughts on it next week! Be sure to check back here next Friday.
For now, I’ll end with a final comment by Diaz that I feel not only sums up his way of thinking, but also fits together smoothly with the guiding principles of U Love. Diaz said, “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.”
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