This Christmas season, the most inspiring story may be one involving a Muslim store owner. It is the Long Island version of Les Misérables and Jean Valjean is played by a distraught robber in a convenience store. In May 2009, a man wielding a bat barged into the Shirley Express convenience store just as it was closing and demanded money. The owner, Mohammad Sohail, was too fast and grabbed a rifle and pointed it directly at the man, who fell to the ground weeping that he was just trying to support his family. Sohail believed him and gave him $40 and a loaf of bread. Sohail later received an apology note from the man and $50 in the mail.
Sohail said that when he pulled the gun (which he never actually loads) that man started to cry and 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.” He felt sorry for the man.
He explained that in his religion, Islam, it is important to show mercy. The man was so struck by the act of kindness that he asked how he could become Muslim and recited a prayer for conversion. Sohail gave him the name Nawaz Sharif Zardari.
The man ran off when Sohail, a Pakistani American, went to get him some milk.
No criminal charges, no trial, and no police. Just two men who seemed to have worked out a situation and saved a lot more than some costs to the penal system.