Timothy Zaal and Matthew Boger are the best of friends. They volunteer at the Museum of Tolerance in Southern California. Boger is gay. He ran away from home as a teenager to escape the pain. He came to the museum to work out some issues. Zaal, a former neo-Nazi, served time for assaulting an Iranian couple. He had turned his life completely around since prison.
Zaal and Boger’s paths had cross when they were teens. And, Boger almost didn’t survive. One night Boger was with some friends at a hamburger stand. Zaal showed up with a bunch of neo-nazis. A fight broke out. Zaal chased Boger into an alley and beat the crap out of him.
Both travelled long roads in the two decades since the incident. Zaal is 42 and a father. Boger is 39. When they frist recognized each other at the museum, it was uncomfortable. They avoided each other for weeks. Then something strange happened–a friendship began to bloom.
It’s not easy for either to look back on that night. But, they’ve decided to turn their past into a learning experience. They know give joint presentations at the museum on that night and how they got to where they are today. Zaal sums it up in an article in the Los Angeles Times “We did not get her overnight. It was many, many years of pain, anguish, and growth.”