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Love Your Neighbor

Mary Ann Dennis was walking her bull mastiff, Buz, in New York City’s Riverside Park when an elderly man told her, “That guy robbed me.” The suspect, in black jeans and tank top, was fleeing.

Dennis urged the victim to help her follow the robber, but the man couldn’t run. So five-foot-two Dennis went it alone. With Dennis and Buz in pursuit, the suspect raced out of the park, ran one block and hailed a cab.

“I was screaming and waving my hands,” Dennis says, “but a taxi picked him up.”

Dennis kept running. Just as she was losing hope, a white van pulled up beside her. After she explained the situation, the driver said, “Get in!”

When they caught up with the cab, its passenger was gone. The cabby told Dennis the man had fled toward Broadway. She and Buz picked up the chase on foot. Spotting her quarry hopping into another cab, Dennis leaped in front of it, shouting, “Stop! That man robbed somebody.” The thief jumped out and threatened Dennis before running to a third taxi. Dennis jumped in front just before the traffic light changed. Within moments the police arrived and handcuffed the suspect, who was charged with third-degree robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.

Would Dennis do it again? “Definitely! Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. If the whole world lived that way, this wouldn’t be a cold city.”

Debra McGrath-Kerr and Dick Sheridan in New York Daily News, Reader’s Digest, January 1996, pp. 89-90.