Social worker Julio Diaz was a creature of habit. Every night when heading home to the Bronx, he would make a pit stop at his favorite diner.
One evening Diaz stepped off the subway and his routine took a turn for the worst. As he headed towards the stairs on the deserted platform a teenager approached him.
Out of the blue, the stranger drew a knife and demanded that Diaz hand over all his money. Seeking to pacify his attacker, Diaz did what he was told. He handed over his wallet and the teenager walked away.
As the mugger was retreating, Diaz called out, “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.”
Confused by Diaz’s actions the teenager asked, “Why are you doing this?”
Diaz said that it was his way of helping someone who had fallen on hard times. He reasoned if the boy was to risk his liberty for a handful of dollars, he must need the money big time.
The teenager was speechless. Diaz turned the tables further when he invited the teenager to dinner. Not wishing to look a gift horse in the mouth, the youngster accepted.
The teen and Diaz took a seat in his regular booth. As they ate, the waiters, dishwashers, and manager all swung by to say hello to Diaz and his new friend.
The impressed youngster asked Diaz if he owned the place. Diaz said no. He just ate there a lot and got on well with the staff. The teen said, “But you’re even nice to the dishwasher.” To which Diaz replied, “Well haven’t you been taught to be nice to everybody?”
When the bill arrived, Diaz said to the teen, “Look, I guess you’re going to have to pay for this bill. You have my money and I can’t pay for this. So, if you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.”
As quick as a flash, the teen returned the wallet. Diaz settled the bill and gave the teen a further $20 to help him out.
The teen was overcome with gratitude. He asked what he could do in return. Diaz said, “Give me your knife.” The teen handed it over and the two of them went their separate ways.
When asked why he did what he did, Diaz replied, “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.”