Throughout the years, technology has continued to evolve at an incredible pace. From gaming consoles to handheld devices, developers are constantly finding new ways to advance existing tech for their customers. But when it comes to cell phones, one of those innovative features can be exploited in a negative way.
Camera phones can be a fantastic tool for users, allowing them to record anything while they’re out and about during the day. But some people use that technology to capture unseemly footage, which can then be shared across the internet. That was certainly the case in March 2017, as a fight broke out between two teenagers.
With the sun beaming down on the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey, adolescents Jamar Mobley and Sheldon Ward began to brawl in the road. Before long, the pair were surrounded by a group of onlookers, some of whom had their camera phones out. As they recorded the fight, a few people even started shouting words of encouragement.
At that point, a person in the distance made his way over to Mobley and Ward, who were still engaged in the brawl. The stranger quickly broke things up, while admonishing the gathered group of youngsters. After getting everything under control, he attempted to reach the duo with some incredibly powerful words.
Across the world, people have disagreements with each other every single day. And whether it’s a minor misunderstanding or something more serious, these issues can usually be settled in a number of different ways. However, while cooler heads would probably talk things out to diffuse the situation, that’s not always the case.
Indeed, some people feel the need to get physical if an argument erupts, which can sometimes lead to a full-on fight. But outside of a controlled environment such as a boxing ring, brawls like this have the potential to get very nasty. And in recent years, another factor entirely has come into play.
In today’s society, most people own a cell phone capable of recording video footage. On that note, some of these individuals have used their camera phones to capture fights that have broken out, before sharing the results online. In March 2017 the same thing happened once again – but with perhaps a more positive outcome than in other cases.
On this particular occasion, somebody captured footage of the young Jamal Mobley and Sheldon Ward squaring up to each other. The resulting clip presents the two under a clear blue sky on the streets of Atlantic City. By the time the video starts, the two are already engaged in their scuffle.
Mobley and Ward are surrounded by peers, many of whom are pointing their camera phones at the action. Right in the middle of the road, a number of punches and shoves are thrown between the pair. And with the fight progressing, the gathered crowd can be heard to cheer them on.
While some throw out a few words of encouragement, others begin to laugh as the situation threatens to escalate. But as Ward and Mobley continue to stare each other down, a figure in the background approaches them. Within a few moments, this stranger quickly makes his feelings known to the group.
“Everybody on your phones, though, all y’all the real cowards,” the stranger says to the crowd of youngsters. “Record that too. Everybody on their phone, record that. Everybody recording on their phone [is] a real coward.” After admonishing the surrounding group, he then switches his focus to Mobley and Ward.
As the man addresses Ward and Mobley, he tries to hammer home one point in particular regarding the crowd. “[This] ain’t cool y’all, you’re in the middle of the street,” the stranger continues. “Look, she’s smiling and laughing. They’re laughing [at you]. Look, he’s got a big smile on his face.”
The stranger’s cutting words don’t end there, though, as he talks directly to Mobley. “Look at your man right here, he’s supposed to be your man,” he says. “He’s dying, he can’t even look [at you]. Look and listen to that. They’re all laughing little bro. But you’re really upset, and [Ward is] really upset.”
From here, the stranger touches upon the brawl itself, before making an observation about Mobley. “You’re more mad than [Ward] is, I can see it in your face!” the man notes. “So you’re fighting for a reason. He’s only fighting you because you want to fight him, ’cause you’re mad.”
After that, Mobley indicates that Ward was the aggressor during the fight, claiming that he wasn’t aware of what it was about. The stranger then takes that information on board, but the conversation doesn’t end. “So you’re defending yourself?” he says. “Alright little bro, so you’re in the right, you’re defending yourself.”
But visibly flabbergasted by the fighting he has encountered, the man can’t help but speak his mind. So he once again diverts Mobley and Ward’s attention back to the surrounding crowd that has assembled. And in doing so, the man also directs his message to the other people as well.
“Look at the crowd,” the stranger says at one point. “Y’all almost men. All of y’all, you’re almost men. You’re not kids no more. Y’all girls aren’t little girls no more. Look, y’all men. 14, 15, 16, 17 – y’all men! Start acting like it. We aren’t going to get nowhere like this.”
Following on from that message, it becomes evident that the person behind the camera has started laughing. And of course, the man picks up on this and opts to address it. “Straight up, anybody who laughs at you while you’re upset like that, they’re not your friend,” the stranger tells Mobley.
At this point, the passer-by continues to calm the situation between the two teenagers, always under the gaze of the surrounding group. And as the conversation progresses, the good Samaritan brings something else up. Indeed, the stranger notes that the youngsters could be indirectly hurting some important people in their lives.
“Y’all got parents,” the honorable man tells all of the young people gathered around on the street. “Don’t make your parents look like this. Word up. It’s important. Don’t make your mom and dad look like this.” And still, his sage advice for the youngsters doesn’t quite end there.
Noting how nice the surrounding neighborhood is, the stranger urges the crowd to stay out of trouble in the future. “If y’all live around here, you live somewhere good,” he says. “Don’t mess that [up].” Incredibly, the man then spots a recognizable face in the group, turning his attention toward them.
“Hey you, I know where you’re from,” the stranger continues. “I know where you’re from. Humble beginnings, your mom and dad worked hard to get where they at.” At this point, he glances over at someone else. “Little bro, your dad is doing life [in prison],” he says. “You think this is a game out here?”
Following on from that, the stranger brings his passionate words to a close. “Ain’t no game out here,” he adds. “It’s real out here little bro. Y’all playing games out here, stop playing games man.” From here, the man shakes Mobley’s hand, before making one last suggestion to keep the peace.
The stranger tells Mobley to shake Ward’s hand as well – but he initially shows some reluctance. With that in mind, the good Samaritan insists that he won’t leave the road until they do. At this point, the pair make an attempt but it quickly breaks down, drawing a big laugh from the gathered crowd.
However, the stranger doesn’t give up. “Now look,” he tells Mobley, while pointing at the group. “They want y’all to be enemies. Now look, he can’t even stop smiling. Put your hand back out bro. You’re going to shake it this time, I promise you.” Finally, the pair comply to the request, bringing the video to a close.
The clip was subsequently uploaded to Facebook in March 2017, but few people could’ve predicted what happened next. Indeed, the video went viral, earning just under 40 million views on the social media website. In addition to that, it also generated over 360,000 likes and close to 70,000 comments from online users.
In amongst all those messages, though, one in particular stood out. “Good on this dude for stepping in with some reality for these two young men,” wrote one Facebook user in the comments section. “People who say they care can oftentimes be the same people [who] thrive off your failures.”
“These two young men will remember this, it may not change anything in the short term, but they will remember,” Bonnett added. “It was an important message being sent every time [the stranger] pointed out that people were laughing and smiling. That’s not support, that’s someone laughing at your expense. Good message here for sure.”
Away from Facebook, the video was shared on Twitter as well, with one famous face picking up on it. Basketball superstar LeBron James posted a link to the clip on his official account, hailing the stranger’s actions. “So dope!” James tweeted. “Salute the homie who stepped in and spoke real to our young generation. We all need a word or two to help!”
As the video continued to attract a lot of attention online, the stranger’s identity was finally revealed. His name was Ibn Ali Miller, a parent of six children who was out helping his mom before stumbling across the fight. In his mind, he had to intervene before the situation got out of hand.
“I stepped in just because it was the right thing to do,” Miller told Time magazine in March 2017. “Those kids didn’t look like predators to me. To me, I saw my own kids. I didn’t see predators.” From there, he switched his focus to the brawl itself, and the potential consequences that could’ve come with it.
“I just didn’t want those kids to fight,” Miller continued. “More importantly, I didn’t want one of those kids to lose the fight. Sometimes when you’re young like that, and you lose a fight in front of your friends and it goes on Facebook, it could hurt you for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Mobley himself appeared to appreciate Miller’s selfless actions from that day, as he later reflected on everything that happened. Thinking back to their lengthy conversation in the middle of the road, the teenager remembered one point in particular. Indeed, of all the stranger’s words, this message really resonated with him.
“The one thing [Miller] said that got through to me was [when] he explained to all my friends – who I thought were my friends – all of them just wanted to see a fight,” Mobley recalled to NBC News in March 2017. As for Miller, his inspiring actions also caught the attention of the community’s local authority.
Miller was set to be celebrated by the city a few days after the incident, despite playing it down himself. “I’m a Muslim,” the father told Time. “I was raised by Muslim parents. That’s what we were taught in my house, always, growing up. For me, I don’t look at it like I’m a peacemaker.”
Miller added, “I did what I was supposed to do, what I was raised to do.” With that in mind, he reiterated those words while being honored by the Atlantic City council, paying an emotional tribute to his mother. But he was still reluctant to accept the praise that came his way.
The impact of Miller’s dutiful actions were apparently still being felt some 12 months later. In fact, the two youngsters looked back on that fateful day during an interview with CBS This Morning in March 2018. Over the course of this conversation, they explained why Miller’s words got through to them.
“I never had no father figure in my life,” Mobley explained. “So [the words] coming from a man made me look [at it] differently, like, ‘Woah for real?’ Like what [Miller] said to us was what a father should’ve said to us.” Meanwhile, Miller also shared his thoughts a year on from the viral video.
In Miller’s mind, there was a simple explanation as to why Mobley and Ward listened to him. “I think people respect [those] who respect them,” the father said. “Once they know that someone’s paying attention, once they know that someone loves them, once they know that someone’s gonna be there for them, they’ll rise to the occasion.”
As for Mobley and Ward, their relationship changed off the back of Miller’s actions. After fighting over what was said to be a piece of miscommunication, they’re now inseparable. “I just hated this person,” the former added. “I just wanted to fight this person and now we’re calling each other brothers.”