On Sunday night, some area youths on Staten Island were throwing eggs at passing cars in Midland Beach when one driver decided to send them a message. One of the tossers, 12-year-old Nicholas Hinkley, tells the Staten Island Advance that an irate man jumped out of his silver Lincoln after an egg "whizzed" past his window. He chased the boys, who all escaped except for Hinkley, who was about to learn an important lesson in egg etiquette.

The man, whom Hinkley describes as 6-feet-tall with a full beard and mustache, told a female companion in the vehicle he was going to have some fun with the kids. Hinkley says the man caught him by the arm and growled threats into his ear, saying, "I could just punch you and leave you right here and let you stay here bleeding on the floor. I can shoot you. You don’t know who I am, I could be the cops for all you know." Then, according to Hinkley:

"He threw me on the floor. He was just standing there. I told him sorry and I wasn’t the one that threw the egg," said Nicholas, his voice sounding tight and stressed as he recounted the incident on the phone from his New Dorp home today. "I was really scared."

The man asked where he went to school. When Nicholas confessed Egbert Intermediate, he asked if he knew his own daughter, who also happened to be a student there. He did not recognize the name. "Then he rolled up his jacket. He took the gun out of the holster and pointed it toward my face," said Nicholas. "I told him, I could have my parents come and tell him I didn’t throw the egg. I was thinking he was really going to shoot me."

But instead, Hinkley the assailant put the gun away and faded back into the night, with these parting words: "He said, 'you’re a lucky man' because he’s in a good mood and I had entered the gates of hell." (Wait, no, that's just Midland Beach.) Hinkley ran to a nearby house and tearfully begged the woman who answered the door to let him wait inside until his parents could come get him. His father Joe immediately filed a police report, and he tells the Advance, "Was he wrong to be throwing eggs, yes. He’s never going out with that group or to that neighborhood again."

We imagine he's not going to be throwing eggs at cars again, either, after that little scare. So although the bearded stranger's methods were probably unsound, in the long run it may be that he did Hinkley a favor. This is not 'Nam, Hinkley. There are rules.