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This Social Worker Knows How To Change The World

| Filed under: Inspiration


You have to read this story, we aren't even joking.

31 year old Julio Diaz is a social worker in NYC. He has a routine — on his way home from work to the Bronx, he gets off one stop early to eat at his favorite diner. Every night.

He's been doing this for years, except one night was not like the others. When he stepped off the train, a teen pulled a knife on him and demanded his wallet.

Julio explained the scary, but ultimately life changing encounter, saying:

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go.'"

Julio had something spark inside of him before the teen could walk away:

"'Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.' He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

"'If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you're more than welcome.' You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help."


They sat in a booth together:

"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi. The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"

"'No, I just eat here a lot.' He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'

"'Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?'

"'Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way.'

He then asked the teen what he wanted out of life, but the boy couldn't answer. Then the bill arrived:

"'Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill ’cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you.' [He] didn't even think about it. I gave him $20 … I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know."

Diaz then asked for something in return, which he was given — the knife. This is when Diaz lets us know he means business about changing the world:

"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."


We're stunned at how amazing this story is. If only the rest of the people in the world could find it in them to be a little more like Julio Diaz.

[Image via AP Images.]

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17 comments to “This Social Worker Knows How To Change The World”

  1. tempe says – reply to this


    Might be a good idea for you read this story to yourself WEEKLY Perez. Let it lift you to NOT bully Leann, Kristen, Romney and others. You are long on posting feel good stories but short on practicing it yourself.

  2. Charlotte says – reply to this


    This story is from 2008! And you are only NOW posting it? *lol*

  3. Mr Pete says – reply to this


    What a wonderful uplifting story to start my morning
    In a world full of troubles,corruption,and hate, here we have a mini love story of a Hispanic social worker who falls for a young black street hustler/thug
    Who go out and their first date

    This does sound like it could be a Movie of the Week on Lifetime
    Maybe change it around a bit, have Sally Field as the gutsy fiesty social worker, and Merryl Streep as a down on her luck bag lady

  4. 4

    I would have shot the punk in the fucking face. Good riddance.

  5. @v@ says – reply to this


    Courage and true caring are rare. Julio Diaz gets it. The teen got more of a lesson/gift here than he maybe has gotten in a long while.

  6. NoThanks says – reply to this


    As much as I love this story, this happened about five years ago.

  7. 7

    sounds like some cheesy TV movie about a teacher saving blacks from a life of crime. And we all know that kid went straight back to mugging people so..

  8. Stacy says – reply to this


    This has been floating around for fucking years, Perez.

  9. Onmyradar says – reply to this


    This story is a parable… Not real, its like a fable for adults.

  10. Kate says – reply to this


    Wait Perez what is this? This story came out in April of 2008. Not sure why your recycling stories. But there are plenty to post. Yes this is an absolutely wonderful story but come on now….And yes the world needs many many more Julios…

  11. 11

    one word,,,BULLSHIT

  12. @v@ says – reply to this


    Re: Onmyradar – It might be a true story, came out on NPR March 28, 2008.

  13. Cheap Social Worker says – reply to this


    Parable or not, I want to thank you for posting an article that paints social workers in a positive light for once. Our profession is most commonly associated with "baby snatchers". This is simply not true! Thank you for highlighting the positive aspects of our profession. This guy isn't the only person that performs kind acts like these.

  14. 14

    i did that once a guy tried to steal my car so i gave him a ride home…no joke im serious
    turned out to be my bosses brother ,,

  15. Bonnie Kohl says – reply to this


    I hear of so many good things happening in this country, why are the bad guys winning?

  16. @v@ says – reply to this


    Re: perez posse number 777 – Phhhwoar!
    An indigent old guy was hassling me walking downtown, so I bought him a meal after I lost him and took it back to him. He was bafflingly well spoken and turned out he had two degrees along with a PHD but his life fell apart with the deaths of his family.

  17. 17

    Most ancient stale story ever. What?