In 2008, Julio Diaz retrieved his wallet from a mugger by taking the man to lunch. Meanwhile, a cat in the Amazon rainforest lures its prey by crying like a baby monkey.


Julio Diaz Invited His Mugger to Lunch

Julio Diaz is a New York social worker. He gets off the subway every evening at six and eats at the same restaurant. One day, a few years ago, he was held up at knife-point by a teen-age boy.

Diaz handed the boy his wallet. As the boy turned to leave, Diaz took off his coat. “If you’re going to be robbing people all night, you’re going to get cold,” he offered. “Why don’t you take this, too?”

Then he invited the boy to his favorite diner for dinner.

The margay imitates baby monkeys in order to attract lunch.

Meanwhile, in the remote rainforest of the Amazon, Wildlife Conservation Society researchers were following a pack of squirrel-sized monkeys called Pied Tamarins through the jungle.  While the monkeys were feeding, the researchers and the monkeys heard what sounded like a baby monkey in distress. Several adult monkeys moved towards the cries and then bolted after they were warned off by the pack sentinel. Researcher and monkey alike were surprised when the “baby monkey” turned out to be a cunning and rare margay lurking in the shadows.  The researchers had long heard tales from the indigenous tribes of the area, about margays, jaguars and other cats using vocal trickery to lure prey, but had not always counted the tales as credible.

Fortunately for the monkeys, they were not eaten.

When the time came to pay the bill for supper, Diaz told his amazed would-be mugger, “Well I guess you’ll have to pick up the bill since you have my wallet.” The boy gave the wallet back. Diaz paid the tab and gave the young man $20.

“I figured he needed the money,” said Diaz.

I doubt the gift of a lychee nut would have helped the monkeys.