The world can feel so tiny sometimes, especially now that social media’s tentacles are thoroughly suctioned on to every aspect of life. That shrinking universe is what led a former mugger to his victim of 35 years ago, when he stole a guy’s bus pass as part of a gang initiation. Facebook reunited them recently in an altogether heartwarming way.
‘Tis the season for cheer and all of that, which makes this story a bright spot in the midst of so many other bummers in the news. A simple Facebook post about a local New York City bagel shop closing down started it all.
The former mugger tells the The New York Post he boosted the pass from a man sitting on the steps of the American Natural History Museum in the late 1970s to impress a friend who didn’t believe he was in a graffiti gang.
“I went up to [him] and said, ‘Where’s your bus pass?’ The cops immediately pulled out badges and arrested me,” the man remembers. “I told this story throughout my life. I felt so bad about it.”
Cut to last week, when the former mugger happened to be perusing the Facebook post about a bagel shop closing, and recognized a name among the comments: It was the man whose bus pass he’d taken as a teenager.
“You may not remember this … but a long, long time ago I walked up the steps of [the museum] one afternoon, trying to look like a tough guy,” he posted. “I have never forgotten the incident or your name … then here I am … reading about my favorite bagel store in the world closing down, and [whose] name do I see but yours. Finally I can say — I’M VERY SORRY that you had to go through that crap that day long ago.”
The former victim remembered the man and as these warm, fuzzy things go, accepted his apology.
“Clearly you’re a ‘bigger man’ today,” he replied in the comments section. “Memory is a funny thing. I recognize your name now as well…. Any man who draws a line for himself [and says] ‘Today I step forward for myself, my family, and humanity’ is a hero to me,” he added. “So let us now, jointly, put this in its proper place, behind us.”
The mugger says he’s spent his life trying to make up for doing bad things by thwarting other crimes around the city, and says former Mayor David Dinkins gave him a thank you note for saving a woman from an attack near a building where he worked as a doorman. But this takes the cake.
“A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” he said of the apology. “I feel peace and dare I say joy. I’m even happier this is bringing joy to other people.”