Mugger apologizes decades later to victim

Kristin Thorne has the story.
December 2, 2013 2:41:38 PM PST
A man who mugged someone decades ago, when they were teenagers, recently saw the victim's name on Facebook.

He took the time to write a heartfelt message, saying it's haunted him.

If you believe in life coming full circle then Claude Soffel's story will only reinforce it.

It was the 70s and Soffel was a teenage boy growing up in the city.

"A rougher time for sure," said Claude Soffel, a Sag Harbor resident.

One day he was approached by a much larger boy.

"I wanted to run but it was too late he had me cornered," Soffel said.

That boy, now a grown man, was Michael Goodman.

"He took my pass, he took my bus pass. He didn't get more than two steps and a big dude in an overcoat grabbed him by the back of the neck," Soffel said.

Now fast forward almost 40 years later.

Soffel recently commented on a group page on Facebook.

When he checked the site a little later, he was surprised at what he saw.

"Claude Soffel you may not remember this," the poster wrote.

It was a post from Goodman.

"I am very sorry. I wish it had never happened but it did. I was trying to impress some guy who didn't believe I was in a gang," Goodman wrote.

Soffel was stunned.

But it wasn't hard for him to come up with the words to respond.

He now works as a life coach for men.

Soffel wrote, "Michael Goodman, clearly you are a bigger man today, so let's us now jointly put his where it belongs, behind us."

Michael Goodman now lives in Hawaii. He and Soffel have exchanged a number of private messages on Facebook.

They both have agreed they think it's important to tell their story.

"If there's somebody out there who has a wrong they want to right perhaps I, in this moment in time, gave them hope, you can be received," Soffel said.

And possibly forgiven.