A mugger with a guilty conscience had a chance to redeem himself of the crime he committed 35 years ago thanks to Facebook.
Michael Goodman, 53, who stole a bus pass from a man outside of the American Natural History Museum in the late 1970’s, randomly came across a Facebook post about his favorite New York City bagel store closing that his victim commented on. Recognizing the man’s name, he reached out to apologize.
“Claude Soffel, You may not remember this (about '76 or '77) but a long long time ago I walked up the steps of The Museum of Natural History one afternoon, trying to look like a tough guy to [somebody] & saw you standing there at the top of the steps, I walked up to you & (mugged) you for your bus pass,” he wrote. “I have never forgotten the incident or your name (it has sort of haunted me a bit throughout my life) & then here I am on fb. reading about my favorite bagel store in the world closing down, & who's name do I see but yours.”
Goodman, who now lives in Hawaii, says he held up Soffel for his bus pass in an effort to impress a classmate. He was arrested soon after by an undercover cop.
“I’M VERY SORRY that you had to go through that crap that day long ago, I wish it had never happened but it did. Like I said I was trying to look tough to impress some guy who didn't believe I was in a gang, pretty frickin' stupid huh ?” he goes on to say.
Claude Soffel, 52, saw the post and replied. “Clearly [sic] you’re a "bigger man" today. wow. Memory is a funny thing, I recognize your name now, as well. So, apology accepted.”
Soffel, who now coaches men on developing their parenting skills and lives in Sag Harbor, N.Y., says Goodman’s actions represent something he teaches.
“Interestingly, I have dedicated a large portion of my life to helping other men be the man they have always wanted to be, and moments like this one continue to fuel my faith that the battle may be uphill but so rewarding,” Soffel wrote. “Any man who draws a line for himself, ‘Today I step forward for myself, my family, and humanity’ is a hero to me. So let us now, jointly, put this in its proper place, behind us.”
Goodman says he has changed his ways.
“It's sort of cosmic that you used the word HERO, because in later years I stopped & caught muggers & rapists a few times & even got an award for doing so by NYC. Major D. Dinkens back in the day,” he wrote in response to Soffel. “
The apology has since gone viral with others on the comment thread commending Goodman for his gesture.
“A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” Goodman told the New York Post. “I feel peace and dare I say joy. I’m even happier this is bringing joy to other people.”