Ogden business owner forgives thieves via social media, generates positive vibes

Posted at 7:35 PM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-19 21:35:16-05

OGDEN, Utah – People deal with adversity in different ways. For an Ogden business owner, he took to social media to address thieves who targeted his restaurant and it paid off.

Ben Fonua and his wife opened their restaurant, Leila’s Luau, a year ago in Ogden.

Every night, they lock up the generator attached to their food truck parked outside the restaurant. Tuesday morning when they got to work, they realized it was missing.

“I was sad, I was angry, disappointed that somebody would come into the middle of the night and steal our generator,” Fonua said.

Fonua took to Facebook some 12 hours after he discovered his generator was stolen. By then, he cooled off and shared this message with thieves.

“I forgive you for taking it. I hope that you will give it back to me so I can tell you that I forgive you. And hopefully share a meal with you,” Fonua said.

FOX 13 visited with Fonua Thursday as he prepared lunch. We asked him, why the change of heart?

“As the day went on, my perception on all of it changed,” answered Fonua.

Fonua use to work for Weber County Corrections. He says people who make bad choices in life deserve a second chance.

“That's why I threw it out there," he said. "Just to let them know that despite the bad they've done to me, I think they can still turn their life around."

Fonua’s compassion touched off a wave of positive comments from family, friends, customers and strangers.

“I was surprised when people started messaging me saying, 'Hey, I don't have a lot of money, but I'm willing to donate to help you get a new generator,” Fonua said.

A friend was kind enough to loan him a generator until Fonua is able to get another one, and customers showed their support by dropping in for some Polynesian style grub.

Grateful for all the kindness shown by others, Fonua thanked them by releasing a second video.

“After what's been going on in the world and everything, I just thought there's so much negativity on there, and everyone is just so scared," he said. "I just thought I would respond in a positive way."

Ben is working with Ogden Police in trying to track down the generator. So far, they have no solid leads. If you have any info about this case, call Ogden Police.