Why One Gay Man Befriended His Attacker

Aired on 06/06/2007 | CC tv-pg
The last thing Matthew Boger remembered was a boot to the head. The homeless teenager was left for dead by a group of men who attacked him simply for being gay. Matthew managed to survive his injuries and went on with his life.

However, the story doesn't end there. When Matthew Shepard's murder made national headlines in 1998, Matt decided to dedicate his life to advocating for victims of intolerance. That decision eventually led him to the Museum of Tolerance, in Los Angeles, and a one-in-a-million chance meeting in 2005. Matt met co-worker Tim Zaal—a former skinhead who was seeking to atone for his earlier life of hate—and they started talking about their pasts. Matt went white when he realized who Tim was: the attacker who had left him for dead in that alley 26 years earlier.

Ultimately, Matt forgave Tim so that he could heal himself. They became friends and decided to join forces and educate others about bigotry. Watch to find out how these two men managed to overcome their pasts and turn a heinous act into a powerful teaching moment.