NEW YORK (WRIC)—They say an apology is better late than never, and for two men who reconnected through Facebook last month, the saying rings true.
On Nov. 19, Michael Goodman was reading a thread about the closure of H&H Bagels on Manhattan's Upper East Side when he came across the name Claude Soffel—a man he had robbed more than 30 years ago.
Goodman recalls one afternoon in 1978 or 1979 when he stole Soffel's bus pass on the steps of the Museum of Natural History. Goodman was a minor at the time, and says he was trying to "look tough to impress some guy who didn't believe I was in a gang." Undercover police were present and arrested him on the spot.
Goodman wrote to Soffel in a Facebook comment, "I have never forgotten the incident or your name (it has sort of haunted me a bit throughout my life) … Finally I can say ~ 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 … once again I'm truly sorry for taking your bus pass back then – forgive me … Peace & love to you my brother…!!!"
Soffel responded to Goodman's comment later that day saying, "clearly your a ‘bigger man' today. wow. Memory is a funny thing, I recognize your name now, as well. So, apology accepted … Any man who draws aline 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 wrote back, "thank you for your words & forgiveness ! … I know I finally feel peace on this subject & dare I say even JOY ! … I'm glad & proud of you, you too are a hero ! Hey, take it from an (old school) ‘tough guy' I feels much better to be a HERO…!!!"
Both men have dedicated much of their lives to helping others.
Soffel wrote, "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."
Goodman says he spent years catching muggers and rapists, and even received an award from former New York City Mayor David Dinkins for his efforts.
Goodman not only earned Soffel's forgiveness after so many years, but also impacted the other Facebook users participating in the thread.
Elyse HF Maxwell commented, "I've been waiting for messages like that, but they never come. Good for both of you!"
Sharon D'Lugoff wrote, "this thread made my day."
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