This is something else: a story from CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud with a message here for all of us living in these troubled times.
At bottom, it’s the story of a man who strove to understand more deeply the lessons of Matthew 25 — by challenging strangers to articulate those lessons for themselves:
A modest bench in downtown Davis, California, adorned with flowers and tributes, has become a symbol of the profound impact left by David Breaux. For 14 years, Breaux would stand or sit on that spot, posing a simple but poignant question: “What is compassion?”
Initially catching people off guard, the question prompted deeper reflection than a mere dictionary definition. Jerry Paiz recalled being taken aback by the stranger on the street corner inquiring about compassion.
“So you’re thinking, he’s looking for the dictionary term or a definition,” Paiz said.
However, Paiz soon discovered that compassion encompassed much more. Day after day, month after month for 14 years, Breaux gently asked the same question to anyone passing by, wholeheartedly engaging with the community and urging them to contemplate their understanding of compassion.
Breaux’s message of extending compassion extended beyond oneself, resonating with many. Over 11,000 people shared their reflections on what compassion means in Breaux’s notebooks, capturing the breadth of his impact.
Tragically, the man who brought compassion to the forefront of the community met a violent end less than 50 yards from his cherished compassion bench. Breaux wasearlier this year during an alleged stabbing spree, leaving the city in shock and grief.
Today, his notebook rests at what has become known as the compassion bench, a testament to the community’s embrace of Breaux and their commitment to his legacy.
Through his sister, Maria Breaux, David left behind a powerful message.
“The message that he left for me was in 2016. I forgot I had and he said, if I am ever harmed and unable to speak for myself, forgive the perpetrator and help others forgive that person,” she said.