A man who suffered from a guilty conscience for more than 60 years bought a newspaper classified ad to apologise to a former classmate he punched.
Thomas Caldwell went to Runnymede Public School in Toronto’s west end in the early 1950s. But, despite six decades passing since his schools days, there was still one incident which annoyed Mr Caldwell, who is now in his 70s.
One day, Mr Caldwell, who came from an Irish Protestant family, walked up and punched a Jewish boy in the face, Belfast Live reported.
“In the west end there were not a lot of Jewish families,” Caldwell told BuzzFeed Canada , “and not many Jewish kids at Runnymede.”
Over the years the grandfather-of-four often found himself thinking about the time he punched Howard Rosen.
“The thing that bugged me is that in the back of my mind I knew it was an anti-Semitic thing. I used to box and I punched lots of guys. I’m from Northern Ireland and I was probably more likely to punch a Catholic in those days — but this bugged me.
“The principal called me in and said, ‘What did you do that for?’ and I said, “Oh my hand slipped’. But he knew.”
One day he decided he wanted to offer a public apology to Howard Rosen so he called up the Canadian Jewish News to place a classified ad.
“I was on the phone talking to the lady and she said, ‘I don’t know where to put it [in the paper]’,” Caldwell said.
“I said, ‘Well, don’t you have a guilt column? I became a Catholic and I’m sure we have one.’”
The ad reads: “To Howard Rosen, sorry I punched you at Runnymede Public School in the early 1950’s. Tom Caldwell. I didn’t have any grand design here, it was just a little ad in a paper and if the guy happened to see it, fine. Maybe it’s an encouragement for people who have been subjected to that [kind of treatment] at whatever age that sometimes people can change.”
Although he does not know what ever happened to Howard Rosen, he now feels better for saying sorry. He said he would ask Howard to lunch if he ever heard from him, Mirror UK reports.