One night in a little town on Long Island, New York, a proprietor was closing up his convenience store when a man brandishing a baseball bat burst into the store and demanded money. The store owner, Mohammad, said he would give him the money and pretended to reach into the till, but instead reached for the shotgun he had ready in case someone tried to rob him. The gun was not loaded.
He pointed the gun at the robber’s face and told him to put the baseball bat down and lie on the floor.
At which point the robber started to cry. He said, “I’m sorry, I have no food. I have no money. My whole family is hungry. Don’t call the police. Don’t shoot me.”
The store owner looked at the robber and heard him crying and pleading and he felt for him.
He said to him, ‘I will let you go if you promise to never rob again’. The robber agreed. Mohammed said, ‘I am going to give you some money and some bread and milk so you can feed your family’.
The robber then blurted out that he wanted to be a Muslim, just like Mohammad. Mohammad was astounded at this revelation. ‘What!’ he said, ‘You want to be a Muslim like me?’. ‘Yes’, said the robber.
So Mohammad said a little prayer and the two men shook hands. Mohammad took $40 from the till and threw it towards the robber, telling him to take a loaf of bread from the counter nearby. When Mohammad turned to get milk for him from the fridge, the robber had picked up the money and a loaf of bread and had fled.
Mohammad alerted the authorities however the robber was never found.
That was in May 2009. In December that year Mohammad received a letter with no return address. Inside was $50 and a note from the would-be-robber to whom Mohammad had showed compassion earlier in May.
The note was typed and I have transcribed it with a few grammatical corrections.
You changed my life
First of all I would like to say that I am sorry. At the time I had no money, no food on my table, no job, and nothing for my family. When you had that gun to my head I was 100% that I was going to die. That was the only reason why I asked you to help me become a muslim. Because you spared my life I decided to become a true muslim. Since then my life has changed. Now I have a new child and good job, make a good money. I am staying out of trouble and taking care of my family. You gave me forty dollars, and a loaf of bread. Here is fifty dollars. Thank you for sparing my life. Because of that you changed my life.
“I’m very happy that somebody got to change his life” Mohammad said.
Mohammad Sohail died in August 2010 aged 48 I think from a heart attack. The compassion he showed to a would-be-robber made headlines in America.