There is a pretty straightforward way that people deal with something like a theft or burglary: The victim is thoroughly upset and seeks reparations and punishment for the crime.
But one man changed that narrative in a timely reflection of another who changed an even greater narrative centuries ago.
Carl Wallace, owner of Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Augusta, Georgia, woke to some troubling news on Easter Sunday. His restaurant had been broken into.
The vandal and would-be thief smashed the glass front door with a brick and searched the cash register, but the money had all been removed.
“You know, my initial response was, you know, anger, frustration,” he told NBC’s “Today.” “I realized that we’re gonna have to kind of put up a Facebook post about our door looking really, really bad because here we are going to put up two sheets of plywood over the front door to just get through the day.
But because it was Easter Sunday, a day of celebrating the new life we have through Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, Wallace decided to change tack.
“It really kind of occurred to me [that it’s] … Easter weekend and to just extend an olive branch,” he said. “You know, extend the layer of forgiveness and kindness and give the … would-be robber some redemption and a different path.”
So in his Facebook post, Wallace employed a bit of humor and a whole lot of grace and made his offer public.
“Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix,” the post read. “So if ya see our door looking hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why.
“To the would be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues… please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen.
“My personal cell is 706-513-3557. No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on. Sincerely Carl.”
No doubt some will wonder if the seeming kindness is just a sneaky way to get the perp to reveal himself — but Wallace insists his offer is genuine.
“You know, I kind of looked at it from the robber’s perspective of, you know, this really isn’t working,” he said. “One of my things as an employer that I like to ask my employees [is] what are their goals in life and what do you want to do and what can we do as a company to help you achieve your goals?
“I would ask the robber the same thing: ‘What are your goals in life and is this putting you on the right path to achieve those goals?’ And so it was just a little bit different approach to, you know, a bad situation.”
Wallace also explained that he didn’t think putting someone through the “system” would be beneficial and would make it even more difficult for the person to find an honest job.
“Maybe everybody should offer some kindness and a way to help the fellow person versus continuing to harm what is already broken,” he said.
The original post from Diablo’s has been shared almost 5,000 times, and many people have commented to support Wallace’s decision. Many others have said they will now be patronizing the restaurant since the owner showed such kindness.
“I never imagined what started out as a frustrating day, would turn into an international news story,” he posted on April 4. “The outpouring of love from our hometown and now the world to our story has left us all speechless.
“Love, kindness, forgiveness will always be a better solution than hate.”
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