It’s always difficult losing a loved one, and for 78-year old widow Tona Herndon it was no different.
Her life was shattered after 60 years of marriage and visiting her late husband’s grave was her only solace.
It had been only two weeks since the passing of her husband when Herndon’s visit to his gravesite turned into a terrible ordeal. As she stood in grief, she was mugged by a stranger.
But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and what happened after the mugging became a gift rather than a bad memory. Sometimes good will certainly triumph over evil.
The man who mugged Herndon was caught and his mugshot put on the media. As word spread of this horrible crime, a 15-year-old boy came forward and contacted her with some surprising news.
Christian Lunsford had seen the news footage and the mugshot and felt that a weight had dropped in his stomach. The man who had attacked a vulnerable widow was his father, Shane.
Shane Lunsford had been in trouble with the law prior to this mugging. He almost got away with close to $700 this time, the amount that Herndon had in her purse.
Christian contacted Herndon and asked if she would meet him in the parking lot of a church. He wanted to apologize for his father’s actions.
Christian’s parents had divorced when he was 2 years old and, since that time, he had seen his father on and off.
But his father’s behavior and attitude had clearly not rubbed off on his son — or if it did, it was only to inspire him to be the things his father was not.
“It needed to be done,” Christian said. “She needed an apology from somebody. If I didn’t apologize, who would?”
As Herndon and Christian met in the parking lot, there was another surprise. Christian gave Herndon the $250 given to him by his father for a school trip.
“I thought that was so, so precious,” Herndon said. “Any 15-year-old boy who has that much conscience is extraordinary.” She was so impressed and thankful that she decided to give the money back.
She said it was hers to do what she wanted with it — and what she wanted was for the generous, noble-hearted young man to be able to go on his school trip.
Herndon and Christian are truly unsung heroes. They are an example of kindness and understanding in a world where sometimes it is easier to not get involved.
It certainly would’ve been easier for Christian to ignore the wrong-doing of his father. Christian wasn’t to blame, and yet he stepped up and righted a wrong that wasn’t even his.
It’s our choices that make us who we are. In the midst of a horrible crime came a gift of compassion. Christian is also an example that the apple can fall far from the tree.
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