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Going the extra mile

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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A segment that recently aired on National Public Radio's "StoryCorps" warmed listeners' hearts, at least in part because it provided such rich evidence that good alone is powerful enough to bring solutions from which all parties benefit. It brings to mind the Apostle Paul's advice to "be patient toward all men" and "see that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good" (I Thess. 5:14, 15).

One winter evening Julio Diaz, a New York City social worker, was confronted by a teenager armed with a knife, as Mr. Diaz approached his favorite diner in the Bronx. Realizing the kid was desperate, Diaz gave him his wallet. Then, as the young man walked away, Diaz called out, "Hey, if you're going to be robbing people for the rest of your life, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The teenager looked back in amazement: "Why are you doing this?"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner. If you want to join me, you're more than welcome."

Diaz steered the young man to a booth, where everyone greeted Diaz warmly. The kid couldn't believe what he was seeing: "You're even nice to the dishwasher!"

When the bill arrived, Diaz said to the teenager: "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this, 'cause you have my money. But if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."

Without hesitating, the young man handed back the wallet. Diaz took out $20 and gave it to him. Then, sensing the kid seemed to feel obliged to do something in return, Diaz asked for his weapon. At which point the kid gave the knife to Diaz – and headed out the door.

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