You Changed My Life

By  Aisha Qidwae, IOL Correspondent
“I believe that if you do good things, good things come back,” Sohail told IOL.

WASHINGTON –- Mohammad Sohail may have acted out of his good nature six months ago when he showed mercy to a robber of his store, but he never expected his action to have such a profound effect on the man’s life. “I’m just like I won the lottery, a million dollars, because I changed somebody’s life,” an excited Sohail told

Sohail made headlines and commanded media attention in May.
He was closing up his Shirley Express convenience store just after midnight when a man came in wielding a baseball bat and demanded money.
When he reached under the counter and pulled out his shotgun, the masked robber dropped the bat and collapsed in tears, pleading he only wanted to feed his starving family.

Instead of calling the police, a kind-hearted Sohail offered the man $40 and a loaf of bread, but only after he promised never to rob anyone again.
“If police come and arrest this guy, he’s in jail; he never sees his kids. He never sees his baby, his family,” Sohail explained in his broken accented English.

The robber was so stunned by Sohail’s act that he told him he wanted to be a Muslim like him.
He recited the shahada (the Muslim declaration of faith) and Sohail gave him the name Nawaz Sharif Zardari, a combination of the names of the Pakistani president and popular opposition leader.
Sohail did not expect to hear again from his mysterious robber, who remained masked the whole time, until he got the thank-you letter and a $50 bill.

“Because of that you change my life,” wrote the robber.

“Now I have a new child and good job make good money staying out of trouble and taking care of my family.”

Helping Others

For the second time in less than six months, Sohail is back in the limelight and media attention.
He has been interviewed by national newspapers and TV stations, and he also received letters of admiration from people inspired by his act of kindness from as far as Australia.
“If you put my name on Internet, you can see me on hundred different websites.”

But for Sohail, who moved to the US from Pakistan 20 years ago and has lived in the Long Island area for the past 15 years, what he did was nothing exceptional.

“It’s not only this person, I help more people. What’s the difference if I help this guy too?”
He remembers how his parents used to tell him not to hurt anyone, even if that person hurts him.
“If someone come to my store and need something, I give them. Whatever I can do, I give them,” added Sohail.

He says a lot of people, including his own family, ask him why he’s always willing to help people in

“I believe that if you do good things, good things come back.”

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