Woman Forgave Man Who Shot Her In The Face And Even Helped Free Him From Prison
A woman has shown a whole new level of kindness after forgiving the man who shot her in the face when he was just 13 years of age.
Debbie Baigrie, who was 28 when the incident happened in 1990, was walking to her car when Ian Manuel and his friend approached her. They demanded change for a $20 bill before pulling out a gun and shooting her in the mouth. As a result, Debbie required many facial reconstruction operations. Manuel was subsequently arrested and given three consecutive life sentences in an adult prison.
Two years into his prison sentence, Manuel reached out to Debbie to apologise. He rang her up, and she asked him simply why he'd tried to kill her. He replied that it was a 'mistake'. Debbie told the Daily Mail: "I was in such pain. I couldn't eat. I was angry. But I'd go back and forth. He was just a kid."
Debbie spent the next 20 years communicating with Manuel, and spoke out against the racial discrimination endemic within American society. In 2014, she told the New York Times: "If he was a cute white boy at 13, with little dimples and blue eyes, there's no way this [prison sentence] would have happened."
On November 10, she was in attendance at the hearing which ruled Manuel was eligible for an early release. He had served nearly 27 years of his reduced 65-year sentence.
Hours later, the pair went for a pizza together.
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She wrote on Facebook: "As I sit here humbled, reading the beautiful comments, I have to say that, yes, I forgave Ian and continued to support him. But, the true story of strength and courage is his.
"At 14 years old he was sentenced to life for this crime. He spent over 20 years in solitary confinement. He never gave up hope. He educated himself and continued to fight for his release.
"Yesterday, standing in the court room I listened to him, at 39, give the most eloquent speech. I am honoured to have been a part of his gruelling journey and proud that, in spite of all the odds, he is on his way to live his life helping others not go down his path. Kudos Ian!"
Well done Debbie for forgiving Ian and helping his get a second chance at having a life out of jail.
Featured image credit: Facebook