EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated since first being posted earlier this afternoon (May 7).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — A Boyce College student who was stabbed and carjacked outside an emergency room while making a pizza delivery says he forgives his attacker.
Josh Lewis, 19, has been employed at Spinelli’s Pizzeria since last August and is a sophomore at Boyce, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. While delivering a pizza to the emergency room downtown at Norton Hospital on Sunday (May 3), he says a man confronted him outside his car and demanded his keys. When Lewis noticed the man had a knife, he dropped the keys and ran toward the hospital. But Lewis says the man caught up with him and stabbed him in the back before taking off with his black Jeep Cherokee.
“I’m not really holding a grudge against him,” said Lewis, who is from Detroit. “If he was in the same room as me right now, I would tell him what he did isn’t okay, but I would tell him that I forgive him and try to share the Gospel with him and show him Christ.”
After checking into Norton’s emergency room, Lewis was transferred to the University of Louisville Hospital where he was treated for a collapsed lung and torn muscles. Doctors later realized the knife also punctured part of Lewis’ liver. Lewis’ mother flew in from Detroit and says the stabbing could easily have killed him. Lewis was released from the hospital today (May 7).
“We don’t look at this as an accident or a fluke, but God’s grace working in difficult situations,” his mother Terri Lewis said. “God spared him, and we have no doubt about it.”
Since the story was first reported Sunday evening, Lewis has made headlines around the world after news surfaced that he somehow delivered the pizza after the attack. The story was covered in major news aggregation sites like BuzzFeed, USA Today and BBC. Although Lewis told Southern Seminary News on May 6 that he did not deliver the pizza, after conversations with co-workers and family, he is now convinced he did somehow deliver the pizza.
While Lewis is receiving international recognition from celebrities and social media sites, the attention he is receiving from friends at Boyce College and Sojourn Community Church, where he is a member, is generating the most support for his recovery.
“Josh is always an upbeat young man, you can tell he has a great mind. He’s likeable, well-respected,” said Boyce Dean Dan DeWitt, who has visited Lewis in the hospital several times since the incident. “I’ve been thankful for all the Boyce students who have expressed their support of Josh. There was a small group of students huddled in the waiting room when I got there, and most of that small group stayed until 3 a.m. the first night he was in the hospital. We’ve had students there in the hospital literally around the clock, supporting him, supporting his family.”
Terri Lewis, who called it a “great comfort” to receive care from DeWitt, Lewis’ classmates and local churches, said, “The support from Boyce has been fantastic.” She said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., who was traveling on Sunday, called the family to express his support.
“I did not realize at all how many people were willing to set aside time in their day to spend time with me,” Josh Lewis said. “It’s just been really overwhelming almost the amount of support from Christian communities I’ve had, coming here and praying with me and letting me know that they’re supporting me.”
Many of those students supporting him are also members at Sojourn Church. Fellow church member John Mike McGuire, a Boyce graduate and Lewis’ former dorm hall mate, was the first person at the hospital and has supported him throughout his hospital stay.
Clif Roth, a pastor on staff at Sojourn Midtown, said “Because of the strength of our community here at Sojourn, it’s not unusual to hear that someone from his [church community group] was immediately there and has been by his side the entire time.” Roth and Josh Rothschild, a Southern Seminary master of divinity student and Sojourn’s deacon of college students, brought Lewis his favorite ice cream and talked about his new and unexpected platform.
“He’s a funny guy and made a few jokes. We talked a lot about his interactions with people and how it’s become a platform for him in a way he couldn’t even fathom or anticipate because of how viral this has gone. He talked about wanting to use this for God’s glory and to share the Gospel with his coworkers,” Roth said, noting that Sojourn will record a video of Lewis sharing the Gospel later this week.
Lewis’ church and employer are raising funds for a new car, as well as medical expenses. A GoFundMe account created by Mack Welsh, Lewis’ community group leader, has raised more than $4,000 since Monday. On May 6, Spinelli’s Downtown held an all-day fundraiser, designating 50 percent of its sales to benefit Lewis, and Norton Hospital confirmed that it has agreed to match all donations from that event.
Louisville Metro Police spokesperson Dwight Mitchell told Southern Seminary News that investigators have not located or identified the suspect, but described him as a black male around 6 feet tall who was wearing dark clothing at the time of the stabbing. According to published reports, Lewis’ Jeep Cherokee was found burned in Lawrence, Ind. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call 502-574-LMPD.