A forgiving business owner inspired by Easter has decided against pressing charges on a burglar who broke into his restaurant and instead offered him a job.
Carl Wallace made the decision after a man broke into Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Augusta, Georgia, shortly after 4am on Easter Saturday – which also happened to be Mr Wallace’s 45th birthday.
CCTV footage shows a man in a hooded tracksuit using a brick to smash the restaurant’s front window, before forcibly removing the cash register and shaking it to discover there was nothing in there.
“Within 45 seconds, he was back out the front door… no money was taken,” Mr Wallace told the PA news agency.
“Really frustration and damage was the only thing done… we get woken up in the middle of the night, you have to run into the store, clean up the big mess and scramble to get the store back open by 11 o’clock.
“It made me realise, as a robber, this guy’s really not doing a good job – there’s got to be other career paths for this guy.
“I’m a person that believes that everything happens for a reason… we are all just one good choice away from a completely different life.”
Despite the rude awakening on his birthday, later that morning Mr Wallace shared pictures of the break-in on Facebook along with his personal phone number – asking the robber to “please swing by for a job application”.
Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix. So if ya see our door looking…
“No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on,” wrote Mr Wallace.
The post has since been shared thousands of times and received international attention.
Other local business owners got in touch with Mr Wallace and shared CCTV footage suggesting the same man had also broken into their properties.
Mr Wallace said the break-ins were putting the man’s life at risk and he is “extremely hopeful” he will be in touch regarding the job.
“That would be one of the greatest stories… you take somebody that was on the wrong path, someone gives them a hand,” said Mr Wallace.
“Maybe this guy’s never been given that opportunity. Maybe he’s always been put down in life.”
Mr Wallace, who owns a number of businesses in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, said he wants to “break the cycle” of the burglar’s actions.
“Your first reaction is anger and frustration, then you think about Easter weekend and think, what’s a better response?” he said.
“What would Jesus do? Would Jesus have somebody locked up or would he offer forgiveness?
“We all as humans have to have a level of forgiveness to each other, and try to find a better way because there’s so much hate in this world… we don’t understand each other’s problems and challenges in life.”