In June 2009, Dr. Chuck Sandstrom was overseeing the removal of an unregistered car from a rental property he owned in Akron, Ohio, when Michael Ayers, the owner of the car, confronted him. Enraged, Ayers punched Dr. Sandstrom, whose head snapped back, colliding with the brick wall behind him.
Sandstrom suffered a traumatic brain injury and continues to feel the effects of that punch to this day. However, during Ayers’ trial, Sandstrom and his wife chose to join the defense, petitioning for a reduced sentence and access to treatment, work and school during his jail time.
Of his choice to forgive, Sandstrom told The Forgiveness Project, “People think we’re special to have forgiven this man but trust me, my wife and I are not abnormally good people. What is true, however, is that the path of forgiveness can take ordinary people on an extraordinary journey.”