They never meant to cause the fire.
They were just kids, fooling around. But their actions changed one of
their lives because of a storekeeper's version of justice.
In 2003, Michael Rosado was 15 years old. He and a friend were hanging out
in Amelia's grocery store in Lancaster, Pa. His friend saw a wand
lighter on display and started waving its flame around the store. Michael
was amused and started doing the same thing.
Michael's mom came into the store and when she saw her son, she angrily
took the lighter and told him and the friend to get in the car. As
they left the store, someone spotted smoke in the area where the boys had
been. Michael heard an announcement asking customers to leave the
store. He didn't think that his lighter had ignited anything, but he left
the store worried. Just before their car pulled out, an employee asked
Michael and his friend if they knew anything about the fire.
Nervously, they both denied it.
A few days later, Michael was called to the school office. When he saw
his mother and the police, he knew he was in trouble. He couldn't deny
he'd played with the lighter, but wanted it known that he hadn't meant
to start a fire.
Michael had to appear in juvenile court on a charge of arson. He and
his friend were both ordered by the judge to pay restitution of $750.
Michael borrowed $500 from his mother, and then got a job at a shoe
store to pay the rest. He also paid his mother back. Michael said that
the experience had helped him grow up and watch his actions, since he'd
seen the results of acting impulsively.
But the story didn't end there. Jeff Good, the owner of Amelia's,
wanted the boys to learn about the consequences of their actions. He had
heard that both boys had been honor students; that they’d never been in
trouble before. He met with the boys face to face and asked them why
they had done it. After talking to them, he realized that they hadn't had
malicious intentions; they had made a foolish mistake. So, he decided
to give them the chance to make it up. He told the boys that if they
stayed out of trouble throughout high school and then went on to college,
he would pay $750 toward their college expenses.
Today, Michael is 19 years old and is an honor student at Lock Haven
University. He is studying criminal science. Jeff Good did contribute
the $750, as promised, and feels that things worked out the way they
were meant to. Jeff is a Christian and says that he wanted to show
compassion for the young men. He said he based his actions on
Matthew 18:27. So, instead of condemnation, he showed them mercy.
Just like Jesus did for us.
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