A man who mugged a stranger outside New York's American Museum of Natural History in the late 1970s has apologized to his victim after accidentally finding him on Facebook — 35 years later.
Last month, Michael Goodman, 53, was browsing a Facebook post about the closing of H&H Bagels, a popular New York City bagel chain, when he saw Claude Soffel, his mugging victim, among the commenters. Goodman, who now lives in Hilo, Hawaii, decided to publicly apologize — in the comments section.
"You may not remember this," Goodman wrote on Nov. 19, "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.
“I have never forgotten the incident or your name (it has sort of haunted me a bit throughout my life) [and] then here I am … reading about my favorite bagel store in the world closing down, and [whose] name do I see but yours,” he continued. “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."
Soffel, now a 52-year-old life coach in Sag Harbor, N.Y., wrote back accepting Goodman's apology.
“Clearly you’re a ‘bigger man’ today,” Soffel replied. “Memory is a funny thing. I recognize your name now as well. Any man who draws a line for himself [and says] ‘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 and Soffel did not immediately return requests for comment.
But Goodman told the New York Post that he mugged Soffel to "impress a classmate who didn’t believe I was in a graffiti gang."
“I went up to him and said, ‘Where’s your bus pass?’ The cops immediately pulled out badges and arrested me,” Goodman recalled. “I told this story throughout my life. I felt so bad about it.”
Goodman said he was sentenced to three weeks of community service, but never had a chance to apologize to Soffel — until now.
“A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” he said. “I feel peace and dare I say joy. I’m even happier this is bringing joy to other people.”