5 Inspiring True Stories For Anyone Feeling Cynical Today

#2. A Mugging Victim Treats His Attacker to Dinner

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Social worker Julio Diaz was walking home from work one night when a teenager approached him, drew a knife and demanded his wallet. Diaz promptly handed the wallet right over, which is what they tell you to do, but everything after that was just insanely improvised. If you're already saying, "What did he do, hug the guy?" the answer is no -- he took it much, much further.

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Wait, no. Back it up. So to speak.

The Crazy Solution:

Right as the kid started to leave (this being the moment that anyone being mugged spends the whole mugging looking forward to), Diaz stopped him and, as he tells it, said, "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."

Diaz reasoned that his attacker must have fallen on some pretty hard times, which is a fairly complex thought to have while being threatened with a knife, a situation where most people abandon reasoned introspection for trying not to shit themselves. When the confused boy hesitated at the turning of the tables, Diaz upped the ante even further by offering to buy them both dinner. Which the boy accepted, probably after checking to see if he had some kind of magic knife.

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"That old gypsy was right!"

After eating, Diaz reminded the boy that he wouldn't be able to buy dinner if, you know, he didn't have a wallet. While the mugger could have taken this opportunity to flip the middle finger and flee the diner with the wallet and a full stomach, amazingly, he handed the wallet back to his former victim. Not only did Diaz pay the bill, but he then bought the mugger's knife off him for $20.

Of course, it's possible that the mugger just went straight out and bought a bigger knife, but we choose not to know.

#1. Three Countries Achieved Independence (by Holding Hands)

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In the mid-1900s, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (together known as the Baltic States) were in the process of being assimilated into the Soviet Union after a secret deal between Stalin and Hitler, which is kind of like having your home signed away in a pact between Darth Vader and ... well, Hitler. In an attempt to squash the local culture, the Soviet government placed a ban on singing national songs and waving national flags, and these new rules were enforced by some subtle hints that refusing to comply might result in a bloody military invasion.

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"I made them a crushing military edict they couldn't refuse."

The Crazy Solution:

That is, until 1989, when Estonians gathered to celebrate the Estonian Song Festival, which had been celebrated every five years since 1869. Only this time, instead of just singing songs, they joined hands and formed a human chain of 300,000 Estonians, 400,000 Lithuanians and 500,000 Latvians. All together, the chain stretched 360 miles from Tallinn at the north shore of Estonia all the way down to the city of Vilnius in Lithuania.

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"It's nearly impossible to tell who's washed their hands after using the bathroom."

If you're wondering what was stopping the USSR from rolling their tanks right over the squishy bodies of the singing protesters, the answer is absolutely nothing. The Russian army could've pulled a Tiananmen Square at any time, especially given that the protesters were standing in a convenient line. But after an apparent attack of the warm and fuzzies, the Russian government laid down and took it on the chin -- and all three Baltic States held free elections in February of 1990, effectively gaining their independence, without a shot fired. We're going to guess that even the people who participated were more than a little surprised.



J.F. Sargent is a workshop moderator at Cracked, and you can follow him on Twitter and read his silly blog.

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