A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 28, 2001

Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

“He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, ‘Here you go,'” Diaz says.

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.”

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, “You’re the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch.”

“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.”

Written for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.


    • I only hope I would have the wherewithal to act in the same manner. I think I might be too afraid to think straight? What a wonderful story!


  1. cpsingleton42 said:

    Wonderful sentiment!


  2. "Working for Christ" said:

    Are you sure Diaz wasn’t really Jesus? What a great story. Thanks, Kenny T! God bless, my friend. 🙂 Dave


    • Just a quick note for you. My wife (MaMa T) and I will be venturing into Smoothie’s this weekend….. I’m not leaving coffee, just trying the smoothie thing….. LOL

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T


  3. Amen !! Great example of God’s grace in action !!
    Blessings in Christ, bruce


    • I believe there may have been a little divine intervention….

      Have a great weekend!!!

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T


  4. Wow! That’s about all I can say! I hope the kid used that moment to turn his life around. Diaz deserves a reward.


    • It’s amazing what a caring and loving heart can do!!!! I believe the young man was changed during that meal in more ways than we could imagine….

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T


  5. One of the first blogs I have read today, what a great way to start my day! Thank you for this post, it is excellent.


  6. kcg1974 said:

    Such a lesson here. Thank you for sharing. We all can learn from this!


  7. God has certainly endowed Diaz with courage, creativity, and wisdom! And at age 31, he has many years ahead of him to make a difference in this world. He certainly is off to a strong start! Thank you for sharing this uplifting story, Kenny. And thank you very much for becoming a follower of my blog. I am honored that you consider the posts worthwhile.


  8. Jerrie said:

    We all have a reason for doing the things we do. Some of them are actually valid. Loved the story.


  9. I just had to keep this one! It is now safely tucked into my story collection, with the notation: MS&D. I always keep the by line too. This will be a good story to include on any lesson on kindness or giving.


  10. That is an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it. I’m going to try to be that person today…even though I probably won’t get mugged. 😉


  11. Anonymous said:

    Nice story


  12. Anonymous said:

    Coll learning about this in class.l have to write an essay about it so much. 😦 (*_*).



  13. yolo said:

    So awsome story


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