Paying it Forward

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Monday 05, December 2011 | Category:  

I read a really amazing article off of NPR the other day. The story was about a young man who was robbed coming home from work one night last March. The man Julio Diaz was simply trying to eat at his favorite diner, when he was approached by a teenage boy holding a knife asking for money. Julio Diaz gave him his wallet and before thinking offered the boy his jacket, claiming that if he was going to rob people all night he would need to stay warm.

The boy was taken aback by this gesture and asked Diaz why he was doing this for him. Diaz replied to the boy that all he wanted was to grab a bite to eat and asked the teenage boy to join him at dinner. They went to dinner and it was here the boy had a change of heart. While Diaz was talking to those he knew at the diner, the boy was impressed he was nice to "even the dishwasher." When the boy asked Diaz why, he responded "I was taught to be nice to everybody." The teen was shocked and responded, "Yeah but I didn't think people actually behaved that way."

It was here that Diaz asked the boy what he wanted out of life and the teen was speechless and had a sad look on his face. When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen that he would have paid had his wallet not been stolen.  Without hesitation the boy returned the wallet and also gave Diaz the knife. Diaz gave the boy $20 and hoped this would help the teenager out. 

Diaz did a great thing that night opening his heart up to this boy and being generous. "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."

As we are awaiting the birth of the Lord, let us be reminded that Advent is a time of giving and being generous. It is a time to focus on helping those who need help and to think about giving gifts instead of receiving them. Had Diaz not stopped to help the boy, he may have ended up in prison that night or worse. Because Diaz offered up what he had he was truly living out the message of Christ and that is to love your enemies and treat those that may hurt you with love and kindness. 


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