Being hugged by a black man during a white nationalist event at the University of Florida on Thursday was probably the last thing neo-Nazi Randy Furniss expected -- especially after being screamed at, spat on, and punched in the face by protesters only moments before.
The black man who hugged him, Aaron Courtney, apparently didn’t expect it to happen either.
At the time, the university was hosting white nationalist spokesman Richard Spencer, which is why Courtney said he showed up at the event in the first place.
“I found out about what kind of person he was and that encouraged me, as an African-American, to come out and protest. Because this is what we’re trying to avoid. It’s people like him who are increasing the distance ... between people,” Courtney told the New York Daily News.
But when Courtney saw Randy Furniss, standing in the crowd wearing a t-shirt covered in swastikas, his reaction surprised everyone -- including himself.
"I could have hit him, I could have hurt him… but something in me said, ‘You know what? He just needs love.’" Courtney later told a reporter.
Courtney confronted Furniss, asking him, “Why don’t you like me, dog?” before grabbing the man in an embrace.
Watch the video below:
Although Courtney said that he initially experienced some resistance from Furniss, he asked him again why Furniss didn't like him.
The neo-Nazi finally replied, “I don’t know."
Courtney said he believes the neo-Nazi walked away a changed man in that moment, saying, "I reached over and the third time, he wrapped his arms around me, and I heard God whisper in my ear, ‘You changed his life.’”
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