Love Equals Forgiveness

In 2004, a group of teenagers went for a joy ride after stealing a credit card and purchasing a frozen turkey. Hyped up from their crime and looking for more action, one boy made an impulsive decision. Against protests from the other teens, he proceeded to hurl the turkey out the window, at an oncoming vehicle.

Victoria Ruvolo was one block away from home, when an object, with the force of a wrecking ball, slammed into her windshield, altering her life forever. The results were devastating as every bone in her face was broken.

She lay in a medically induced coma for almost a month. Surgeons rebuilt her face using three titanium plates and wire mesh to support her left eye socket. Not only did she endure healing from a 10 hour surgery, but also a year of rehabilitation. She should have died, but instead lived to give a gift of her own.   

The young men who were in the car were quickly found and arrested. Three received lesser sentences, but the thrower, 18 years old, was expected to get 25 years in prison.

Then, an odd thing happened …

Ruvolo, who many would think wanted her assailant prosecuted to the fullest, showed incredible grace to this young man. She fought for leniency. And convincing the judge, he was sentenced to only six months in jail and five years of probation.

Wow! What grace and forgiveness. She chose to forgive him to help with her own healing. She knew she would never progress carrying around bitterness and rage. Instead, she recognized that she was granted a second chance at life and wanted to pay it forward. She told her assailant that although she forgave him, she was not dismissing the need for him to accept his punishment both criminally and civilly.

The boy wept in her arms as she said to him, “go and make something of your life.”

As I read online forums, people were aghast that she would let him off the hook. Saying that leaving a criminal unpunished would unleash him to commit other bad deeds on society. I could not find any information on him, but I wonder if he cleaned up his life and made something of himself. Either way, her choice to forgive was more for her than him. It allowed her to move forward in love, rather than burn with revenge.

She became an inspirational speaker for The Forgiveness Project, a youth initiative. And wrote a book about the incident. Her new purpose became clear after the devastating accident. God spurred her on to promote forgiveness and that’s just what she did.

Many people in her situation would not do the same. They would hold onto the bitterness, and if they didn’t, their friends and family probably would. Let her example serve as a lesson to us all. While nothing that traumatic has happened to most of us, we still hold on to hurts as if they did.

Sadly, Ruvolo died unexpectedly at age 59 … 15 years after the incident. As to the cause of her death, speculation attributes it to the accident. But as far as I found, the cause is unknown. In a humorous statement, she said she did not like the title, “Turkey Lady,” but was happy she didn’t get hit by a ham, lest she be known as Miss Piggy. Lol

The parting words on her website were “go and forgive someone.”

Good advice, since forgiveness is more for us, than the other person.
* It frees us from bitterness.
*Allows us to move forward with purpose.
* Most of all, forgiveness honors God.  

To me, forgiveness is the ultimate display of love. Over the years, Ruvolo kept in touch with the young man. His life has changed in a way that none of us would welcome. Forever, he has to remember his misstep, live with the guilt of her injuries, as well as the grace of her forgiveness. And now … the mystery of her death.

May we show the love of forgiveness, remembering how much we ourselves have been forgiven. Let’s make it our greatest gesture this Valentine’s day.

Love to you all. <3 <3 <3

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (NLT)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NASB)


  1. Love the article Jewell, thank you for sharing. ❤️

  2. ellen roland says

    Hi Jewell —
    What a wonderful and inspiring story! We can all learn from the turkey lady.

    • Thanks for reading Ellen. Yes, we can all learn from the Turkey Lady. The ability to forgive is a precious gift.

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