It was around 3 a.m. one night earlier this month when Shaquille Hairston said that he got off of a bus in Euclid, Ohio, and noticed that a man was following him. Then, the assailant pulled a gun and demanded his wallet.
But it was what Hairston did next that he believes saved his life.
"He stopped me. He said ‘Aye bruh’ and I turned around and he pulled out a gun and said ‘gimme everything you got," Hairston told WJW-TV earlier this month. "He raised the gun up and he was like ‘I’ll shoot you. I’m not playing with you, man.'"
When Hairston, 21, told the assailant that he didn't have any money to give him, he pistol-whipped him, striking Hairston in the head.
At that point, Hairston said that he handed over his phone and wallet and, rather than remain silent in fear, he began to pray to God aloud, asking the Lord to help the robber and his family, and, ultimately, even invited the man to church, WJW-TV reported.
Hairston said that his prayer in the midst of chaos was his attempt to keep God first, especially considering that he wasn't sure he would make it out of the situation alive, but it ended up having a much broader impact.
That act changed everything, according to Hairston, who said that — rather than flee with the wallet and phone — the robber began speaking to the victim, explaining that he was unemployed and that this was his first robbery.
Then, he apologized and gave everything back to Hairston, even shaking hands with the him before fleeing the scene.
"He said ‘man, you’re like really blessed’ and I said ‘no, you’re blessed’ and I said ‘I’ll be praying for you and your family," Hairston told WJW-TV. "And then he was like, 'Ok’ and he shook my hand and he went about his way."
The assailant also reportedly said, "Man, just keep your stuff. I'm so sorry for this. You were the wrong type of person to do this to.'
Hairston, who expressed concern for the man, told Cleveland.com that he believes there's a reason that the incident unfolded.
"This happened for a reason," he said. "He needed it, and I needed it."
Hairston reported the incident to the police, but told reporters that he forgives the man and simply hopes that he, too, comes to know God.
(H/T: Christian Today)