The owner of Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Augusta, Georgia, Carl Wallace, reacted the same way many of us might have upon learning someone threw a brick through the restaurant’s glass door on Easter weekend.
But then Wallace took a beat, realized it was Easter weekend, and according to TODAY, decided “to just extend an olive branch … extend the layer of forgiveness and kindness and give the … would-be robber some redemption and a different path.”
Wallace posted on Facebook to explain why the restaurant looked the way it would to those visiting that day.
“Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix,” he posted. “So if ya see our door looking hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why.”
But then, his note took a compassionate turn toward the person captured in security footage rummaging through the restaurant for cash, but turning up empty-handed.
“To the would be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues… please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen.”
Remarkably, Wallace posted his personal cell number, and wrote in a direct address to the person responsible, “No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.”
The post went viral.
Wallace noted that he’s heard from media outlets as far as Europe and Australia hoping to share his story. He also told TODAY that pastors from across the nation texted him to applaud the choice he made.
“You know I kind of looked at it from the robber’s perspective of, you know, this really isn’t working,” Wallace reflected. “One of my things as an employer that I like to ask my employees (is) what are their goals in life and what do you want to do and what can we do as a company to help you achieve your goals?”
“I would ask the robber the same thing: ‘What are your goals in life and is this putting you on the right path to achieve those goals?’ And so it was just a little bit different approach to, you know, a bad situation.”
In a follow-up post on Easter Sunday to his Facebook account, he acknowledged the positivity, saying, “I never imagined what started out as a frustrating day would turn into an international news story. The outpouring of love from our hometown and now the world to our story has left us all speechless. Love, kindness, forgiveness will always be a better solution than hate.”