WEIRD NEWS

Michael Goodman, One-Time Mugger, Apologizes To Victim Claude Soffel On Facebook

12/01/2013 09:50 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

A one-time mugger has come forward to apologize to his victim, 35 years later.

Michael Goodman, 53, told the New York Post that he's felt guilty since the 1970s, when he mugged Claude Soffel, now 52, for his bus pass. Goodman was arrested at the time and ultimately sentenced , but never saw Soffel again.

In mid-November, though, Goodman saw the familiar name commenting on a Facebook post lamenting the closure of H&H Bagels in New York City.

Goodman, who now lives in Hawaii, commented on the post:

@ Claude soffel, You may not remember this (about '76 or '77) but a long long time ago I walked up the steps of The Museum of Natural History one afternoon, trying to look like a tough guy to [somebody] & saw you standing there at the top of the steps, I walked up to you & (mugged) you for your bus pass. . . . 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. Like I said I was trying to look tough to impress some guy who didn't believe I was in a gang, pretty frickin' stupid huh ? So once again I'm truly sorry for taking your bus pass back then - forgive me & thanks for reading this "strange" & very long message! Peace & love to you my brother...!!!

Within hours, Soffel, who is now a life coach in Sag Harbor, NY, replied:

Michael A. Goodman, clearly your a "bigger man" today. wow. Memory is a funny thing, I recognize your name now, as well. So, apology accepted. Interestingly, 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. 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, who said he mugged Soffel to impress a classmate, said he spent the last 20 years trying to do good deeds to make up for it, and was thrilled to be able to finally say he was sorry. “A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” he told the Post.

Goodman is one of many small-time criminals who's made an effort in this year to apologize to a victim.

In August, a Canadian man failed at an attempt to rob a gas station in Winnipeg, then returned 40 minutes later with a heartfelt apology for his actions.

And in March, an anonymous thief returned the $800 -- plus interest -- that he or she stole from a Michigan store in the 1980s.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the second quoted Facebook post to Michael Goodman. The second comment was written by Claude Soffel.

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