BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – One might justifiably feel any of several possible emotions after having one’s business – one’s livelihood – burglarized, but Jim Reed’s reaction was a bit out of the ordinary.

The owner of Cubbies Chicago Style Pizza in southwest Bakersfield responded to a pre-dawn burglary Tuesday morning with a combination of defiance and empathy for the perpetrators of the break-in, which left him with shattered side-door glass. 

Burglary and vandalism of this nature are all too common in downtown Bakersfield, but the city’s outer neighborhoods are not exempt, as Reed learned again. He was burglarized last December as well.

What makes his case remarkable is how, as he expressed in a 2 a.m. Facebook post, he refuses to allow the crime to shake his faith in people.

“Groceries are so expensive, things are expensive, and I think people are just trying to make ends meet,” he said. “They’re just trying to live. I’ll tell you, though, if they walked in and said, Hey, I’ve got no money for pizza,’ I’m your man. I would take care of those people. I definitely would.”

Where does empathy like that spring from? From Reed’s own experience. He says he grew up dirt-poor, raised by a single mother, hungry, but determined. 

His empathy was rewarded by the parade of people inspired to make his business whole again – and inspIred by his uncommon grasp of life’s challenges.

“Man, an overwhelming response,” Reed said. “My regular customers have all come in. Yesterday, business was enough to pay for that window. For me, I was like, ‘Thank God.’ That’s a big deal.”

The would-be thieves, who came in with a dolly, tried to steal the change machine in the restaurant’s video game area, but it’s bolted to the floor. They popped open a cash register drawer – an empty cash register drawer – and left with nothing. 

Nothing except Jim Reed’s astounding, selfless gift of good will.

Of course, there’s no way to know if Reed’s expression of grace had any impact on the perpetrators, but it most definitely had an impact on his customers.