A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

203,632 views | Posted in Compassion, Courage, Mandalas | 10 comments

Sky Lace Mandala

“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…”

This is the amazing story of social worker, Julio Diaz, who was on his way home one evening. His normal routine was to get off the train one stop early, to visit his local diner.

The station platform was empty, but as he was walking towards the stairs something dramatic and unexpected happened.

Suddenly a young teenager came up to Julio, pulled a knife and demanded money.

Julio just handed over his wallet, saying: “Here you go”.

But as the teenager turned to go, Julio said: “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you diaz450might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

The story unfolds with Julio offering to take the teenager to the diner to eat with him. He explains: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money… 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.”

When they have finished eating, Julio asks for his wallet back in order to pay for the meal. He then offers to give the teenager $20 in exchange for one thing… His knife.

Listen to Julio tell his story:

     Into the Night - Into the Light #3 by onkel_wart (in slow motion mode)

Compiled by Zen Moments

Non-Violent Communication - Marshall RosenbergZen Moments Bookstore Recommended Reading:

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Julio Diaz in the article above demonstrated exceptional communication skills. In Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg shows how such skills can be learned in a systematic way, illustrated by many examples. In essence:

  • I learn to honestly express how I am, without blaming or criticizing
  • I also empathically receive how you are, without hearing blame or criticism

Summary from the book: “Nonviolent Communication (NVC) helps us connect with ourselves and each other in a way that allows our natural compassion to flourish. It guides us to re-frame the way we express ourselves and listen to others by focusing our consciousness on four areas: what we are observing, feeling, and needing and what we are requesting to enrich our lives.

NVC fosters deep listening, respect, and empathy and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. Some people use NVC to respond compassionately to themselves, some to create greater depth in their personal relationships, and still others to build effective relationships at work or in the political arena. World-wide, NVC is used to mediate disputes and conflicts at all levels.”

Today you… tomorrow me…;Today you… Tomorrow me…

 how the kindness of strangers got me to be more helpful to people…”

“So a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow…”


  1. That’s seriously amazing…. I’m gonna go try and get mugged just to see if I can do this, too. (and no, I’m not trying to be sarcastic).

    • !!! I have a strong suspicion that moments like this cannot be planned – and you could find this idea going horribly wrong!

      If you want to test out your powers of empathy and communication, why not try volunteering to work with troubled young people – you’ll soon find out if you’ve got what it takes!

      • I agree with you. However, I doubt that I would be able to find another ‘Julio’ here in my place. At least from what I have been observing, people here love ‘mind your own business’. I am inspired by this story and do hope that I have the courage to do the same thing if I were to be in this situation.

  2. Brave compassion. What could be better?

    • Hi Steven – Thanks for your comment – We’re hoping you’ll share a story from your blog, “Real Taijiquan”:

      “..A man, lanky and tall, steely jaws and booming voice, cleared the crowd. Dressed shabby and acting angry, he plowed a wake, like a speedboat, as he walked. He turned at the sidewalk, toward me and my boy…”

      What happens next?
      (click on S.Smith…)

  3. This only works if the person has a lot of money… What if he was just as poor as the mugger and had a family to feed? While the story is touching, it has a tiny effect on society and isn’t repeatable.

  4. This scenario is portrayed in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”….book and movie…Nick Nolte stars in the movie…

  5. Nice image for the article.

  6. Does Julio have the freedom to take this approach because of his gender? Fear of sexual violence is the undercurrent of many such confrontations for women. It’s a shame when history trumps altruism.

  7. This is powerful stuff. I think that everyday we underestimate the power of forgiveness no matter what the situation. Show people what love is and you will get it in return. Thank you for sharing this story.


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