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Mugger apologizes to victim 35 years later on Facebook

A man who mugged a stranger in New York City more than three decades ago found the victim on Facebook recently and apologized.

Michael Goodman, 53, was looking at a post about the closing of H&H Bagels in New York when he saw a familiar name: Claude Soffel.

Goodman commented on the post on Nov. 19, explaining to 52-year-old Soffel than he was the man who had mugged Soffel for his bus pass on the steps of the Museum of Natural History in the mid-’70s.

Goodman explained he had been trying to impress a man who didn’t believe he was in a gang. He said there were undercover police nearby and he, a minor at the time, was arrested on the spot.

“I have never forgotten the incident or your name (it has sort of haunted me a bit throughout my life) & then here I am on (Facebook) reading about my favorite bagel store in the world closing down, & whose name do I see but yours,” Goodman wrote.

Later that morning, Soffel responded, saying he recognized Goodman’s name and that he accepted his apology.

“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,” Soffel said in the posting.

“Any man who draws a line 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 now lives in Hawaii with his 13-year-old son, told the New York Post he was sentenced to three weeks of community service — cleaning up graffiti on the subway — and that he tried to make up for his misdeed by doing good deeds over the next 20 years in New York. He said nothing compares to this apology, though.

“A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” Goodman told the Post. “I feel peace and dare I say joy. I’m even happier this is bringing joy to other people.”

Contact Stephanie Grimes at sgrimes@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @steph_grimes

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