August 4, 2010
Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men Break Out in Florida
Would-be robbers and feuding neighbors prove no match for the love of Jesus.
Maybe there’s something to that whole concept of Christmas in July.
Two heartwarming stories out of Florida this past month certainly seemed to signal an unseasonal outbreak of peace and goodwill.
First there was the cell phone store clerk in Pompano Beach who foiled an attempted robbery by telling the robber about Jesus.
20-year-old Nayara Goncalves told the robber, whom police later identified as 37-year-old Israel Camacho, ``You can do whatever you want, but I'm just going to talk to you about Jesus, my God, before you leave.''
Robber: “God bless you for that.”
The robber eventually left without taking anything. Police put Camacho in jail for holding up a shoe store later that day.
The Miami Herald report recounts the conversation, including Goncalves and the robber’s discussion of a church they’d both attended. The story struck quite a few people as bizarre. In fact, the Weekly World News, famous for breaking stories about bat-human hybrids and Elvis walking the Earth, simply released a straight report on the story.
The day the robbery occurred, the St. Petersburg Times reported on a judge who tried to settle a nine-year feud between next-door neighbors. Jose Linares of Hillsborough County had finally had enough of hearing neighbor Tony Alli’s loud music, and went over to talk to him about it after years of seething and calling the cops. The ensuing altercation led to charges against Alli.
Judge Paul Huey sentenced him to 50 hours community service, but he also required the two of them to act more like neighbors in the future.
"I want you all to get together once a month, and you can do it however you want. Once a month, at a different house, you have a get-together,” he said. “Have a potluck, just do something. Kids have to go, too.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself," Judge Huey said. "Jesus said that once a long time ago.”
According to Alli, the first in a series of court-ordered potlucks is set for August 14.
“Who knows?” said Judge Huey. “Maybe we'll have a little United Nations.”