A week after a viral video showed a drunk University of Connecticut student demanding a serving of macaroni and cheese—and days after said student, Luke Gatti, released a YouTube apology— Union Street Market chef Robert McKay, who is seen in the video holding Gatti back in order to avoid a fight, has written an open letter in the UCONN student newspaper forgiving Gatti.
The lengthy letter is a stunning document of restraint, forgiveness, and level-headedness. McKay's letter begins with a disclaimer that he's not going to comment on the viral video that was pulled from YouTube recently, but that had been reupped by several other accounts. Then he gets to the point: he unequivocably forgives the inebriated Gatti for his actions:
I hope that got your attention, because it’s the truth. I almost see people rolling their eyes or shaking their heads. Let me ask you a question. How would you like to have your dumbest mistake you’ve ever made broadcast to the world? How would you like to be turned into a pariah?
He clarifies and points out an odd incongruity:
Now, let me be equally clear. Forgiveness does not mean I believe Gatti shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions. He should, and he will. But people need to stop beating him over the head. I find it ironic that just a few weeks after UConn hosted a suicide prevention forum that I’m reading many comments telling Gatti he should kill himself.
McKay goes on to say that his daughter, after seeing how he acted in the video, told him that he was a hero. McKay, who served in the military, says that he's gracious for the sentiment, but that he actually is not a hero. Rather, he did what he had to do to help his friend and boss, Union Street Market supervisor Dave Robinson.
"Helping someone in need is not heroic," McKay writes."It’s something we should all be doing."
In his closing, McKay encourages Gatti to get treatment and join the military, because "for hundreds of years our military has turned boys into men and not just because it had taught them to fight. It teaches responsibility and discipline."
It's unclear what Gatti's next move will be; he has not yet been expelled from UConn, the Hartford Courant reports, and he is facing a court date on charges of criminal trespassing and breach of the peace.
The cafeteria workers in the video, meanwhile, are the subject of a GoFundMe page seeking to give them a night out. It's raised over $2,000.
If McKay's letter is any indication, the man deserves it. You should go and read the whole thing.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org