After a man threw a brick through his restaurant’s door in Augusta, Georgia, on early Saturday morning, Carl Wallace was understandably frustrated.
“You know my initial response was, you know, anger, frustration,” he told TODAY Food. “I realized that we're gonna have to kind of put up a Facebook post about our door looking really, really bad because here we are going to put up two sheets of plywood over the front door to just get through the day.”
The suspect rummaged around the cash register at Diablo's Southwest Grill as the alarm blared, Wallace said his security footage showed, but there wasn’t anything in the drawer.
As he was writing the post to explain to his customers why the restaurant’s door looked like a mess the later that morning, Wallace had a realization.
“It really kind of occurred to me (that it’s) … Easter weekend and to just extend an olive branch,” he explained. “You know, extend the layer of forgiveness and kindness and give the … would-be robber some redemption and a different path.”
So instead, he wrote a post offering the suspect 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 hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why,” Wallace wrote. “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.”
“No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on. Sincerely Carl.”
His forgiving post promptly went viral. Wallace said he’s heard from outlets in Europe and Australia to share his story. He said he’s also being texted by pastors from around the country supporting his choice.
“You know I kind of looked at it from the robber’s perspective of, you know, this really isn't working … 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?” he explained. “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.”
Wallace added that if the person who broke in comes forward, he has no intention of pressing charges.
“Putting this person through incarceration to then get out to make it harder to find a good-paying job,” he explained. “It only makes it worse. Sometimes … even I feel that our system in life is broken sometimes for some people … We've been doing the same thing for 200 years and it's not worked.”
“Maybe everybody should offer some kindness and a way to help the fellow person versus continuing to harm what is already broken.”