It was just supposed to be a normal Saturday afternoon for 18-year-old New Orleans native Devin Washington.
He had an interview scheduled at a neighborhood Popeyes restaurant and he was hoping to make a good impression on the manager set to interview him.
According to New Orleans Police, Devin got more than he bargained for when 50-year-old Pablo Ciscart walked into the restaurant and asked the cashier to make change before snatching money out of the register and attempting to dart out the door. The manager who was interviewing Washington got between Ciscart and the door and when Ciscart tried to manhandle the manager, that’s when Devin, a 6-foot-5 297-pound former high school football player, stepped in without hesitation to help the manager out and subdue Ciscart in what’s being described as a “reverse bear hug.”
Witnesses say that Ciscart dropped the cash he had stolen and was defenseless as Washington held him tight in the bear hug until authorities arrived. Ciscart was arrested on the spot and charged with robbery. Authorities soon discovered that he had an active warrant out for his arrest because of a previous similar robbery.
Washington says his reaction to the situation was just a matter of instinct.
“It just happened,” he says. “In my head I wasn’t worried about it. I was just trying to calm the situation. It was the right thing for me to do because I was raised the right way.”
The peacemaker role is one that comes naturally for Devin. Throughout his school years, he would be the one to break up fights, often using his size and respect of his peers to broker peace.
“I was the big guy on campus, it was up to me to do it,” he says.
As for the interview he was on that got interrupted by Ciscart’s robbery attempt? Turns out he made a good impression after all.
He got the job and started March 21.