Vet Confronts Panhandler Wearing Uniform

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Emotionally-charged video shows the moment an angry Army veteran called out a panhandler in Tampa, Florida for faking a military connection by wearing a camouflage uniform. Garrett Goodwin, who spent nearly 10 years in the Army as a combat medic, spotted the allegedly phony veteran while driving down the main road to MacDill Air Force Base on Sunday. When he first spoke with the beggar, Goodwin started to get suspicious since he claimed to be special forces but was wearing a Junior ROTC patch on his uniform. While he can't be 100 per cent certain that the man he confronted isn't a veteran, he says he's positive based on the panhandler's shamed reaction, riding off on his bike after the incident. 'If it turns out he's an honorably discharged veteran, I personally give him $1,000 cash and personally spend the hours that it takes to get him into the VA system,' Goodwin promised in an interview with WTSP. Since posting the video online on Sunday, the clip has been shared more than four million times on Facebook. Many of the commenters believe Goodwin had a reason to confront the panhandler, while others have criticized his intimidating approach.'I think he owed us an explanation,' Goodwin told ABC Action News, defending the video. 'Some people have called me a bully on the internet, and I think he's a bully wearing a uniform holding up a sign walking up to people's cars in an intersection looking for money. I think he's bullying people out of their money.'

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  1. pberthoty
    pberthoty Apr 07, 2015

    I don't doubt if he was collection money for the Disabled Veterans of America (see Charity Navigator) a Charity Scam that uses people in uniform to collect money in the Florida area. They have been chased out of the Crawfordville (Tallahassee) area and Panama City.

  2. 17204386
    17204386 Apr 07, 2015

    Good for him. I would have made the creep take off ALL of the uniform. USAF 1952 - 1956

  3. MikeS_inFL
    MikeS_inFL Apr 07, 2015

    That didn't seem like an emotionally charged video to me. Goodwin didn't race after him, there wasn't any yelling or anything and the civilian didn't receive anything more than a tongue lashing. Back in the days when laws were enforced, I'm pretty sure I recall something about impersonating an officer being something of a crime.

  4. 29293233
    29293233 Apr 08, 2015

    The guy accosting the panhandler was a little over-the-top. In a country where just about every town over 30,000 has an Army-Navy surplus store where complete uniforms of a wide variety can be purchased by anybody, and in which desert camo is an "in" pattern in a lot of civilian clothes, as well, it is pushing the envelope a little to take such extreme umbrage about a homeless person wearing it. We didn't serve in order to protect the uniform, we served to protect a nation in which people are not harrassed and intimidated by overweight bullies for what they happen to be wearing. The "veteran" needs to get a life and get help for his unwarranted assumption of moral superiority (Warrior Syndrome). He's no hero, he's just a guy among 36 million who once wore the uniform. He needs to get over himself.

  5. sailor7
    sailor7 Apr 08, 2015

    Read the after word please. Turned out the pan handler was an honorably discharged veteran. Goodwin gave him a thousand dollars of his own money after he found out.

  6. gmann714
    gmann714 Apr 08, 2015

    I served eight years in the army and I don't have any veterans ID card.

  7. TMT2USN
    TMT2USN Apr 08, 2015

    Could have been handled better. If I saw this, I'd be calling the police on the guy chasing the smaller guy around. I get the anger, I get the frustration, comma, chasing the guy into traffic is a real problem for me. The guy is still an American, though clueless, and in his own stupid way, trying to make a living. Not saying that guy is right, but intimidating him like this comes off like bullying, and the worst sort of cop gone bad videos we see everywhere. Now what if the guy was a veteran, and just mentally Ill? Big guy might get a knife pulled on him, he goes combat mode, and kills the little guy for defending himself, right? Totally unneccessary. I get why. Could have been handled a lot better.

  8. desertrat121
    desertrat121 Apr 08, 2015


  9. Dav John
    Dav John Apr 08, 2015

    This is not the first time I've heard a veteran ask for a "Veteran's ID Card" of a poser. I served in the Navy from November 1976 to May 1986, but I've never heard of a "Veteran's ID Card".

  10. PatrickHF
    PatrickHF Apr 08, 2015

    More people should do this, and maybe we wouldn't be seeing all of those panhandlers out there.

  11. desertrat121
    desertrat121 Apr 08, 2015

    It's Stolen Valor whether it's a medal or the uniform. USING IT TO PANHANDLE IS FLAT WRONG. When I got out of the service in 1975, getting a job was next to impossible. I NEVER considered bumming with, or without the uniform, or whining about the whole mess. I got by because I moved 900 miles from home to get work like other guys did. LATER I took a job pumping gas while carrying 14 credits per semester in college. In the 60's and 70's it was A LOT different, even if you never saw combat or entered a combat zone. Nowadays I'm glad to see vets being treated with respect by the public...The VA not so much.

  12. 32105691
    32105691 Apr 08, 2015

    I agree with Goodwin. I'm glad he confronted him and maybe it will inspire more veterans to confront more panhandlers claiming to be veterans. In our city it is illegal to stand at street corners panhandling. As a proud American I can truthfully say that WE have let our freedom be taken away by liberals. We need to stand up to what we believe in or we are going to lose all of our freedoms. Thank you Goodwin for standing up for what is right. RMCS(SS) Retired.

  13. 24025401
    24025401 Apr 09, 2015

    I have to say as a 28 year Veteran, I have been struggling against the VA with my disabilities and I refuse to stand on a street corner with my uniform on asking for help. Then anyone that I see wearing the Uniform acting like a former member of the Armed Forces does in fact bother me. Far too many men and women have shed their own blood for those Uniforms and our Great Flag. Too many people in this country disrespect us in wearing it without the right. Maybe if more people stood up to these fakes, we would have a lot less Misunderstandings.

  14. 4649867
    4649867 Apr 09, 2015

    I understand the anger/frustration, but two wrongs do not make a right. This incident could have cost one or both of them their life or freedom. Though I do not like seeing others pretending to have serve in our military, it does not give me the right to request proof that they served in the military. Had this veteran approached me and asked to see my military retirement id card, I would have told him to get lost. Again, I understand his anger/frustration, but he lost his military bearing. We expect a higher level or professionalism out of those who truly served our country. I like to end by saying thank you to all those who served. Our service to this great nation is a privilege and not a right.

  15. TexasCWO
    TexasCWO Apr 09, 2015

    I'm glad he stopped the phony prick from wearing the uniform. HOOORAH to him!!!!

  16. 7125754
    7125754 Apr 09, 2015

    Well done!!!

  17. 27314109
    27314109 Apr 09, 2015

    Street beggars posing as vets are creating a real problem. They make it appear as though the veteran's service organizations as well as brother vets in the area are not stepping up. I have spoken to several of these people at the WalMart parking lot to offer the help of a VSO I belong to and only one turned out to be a genuine vet.

  18. 33817561
    33817561 Apr 10, 2015

    Stolen valor, what a shame.

  19. WB9IIE
    WB9IIE Apr 10, 2015

    I am a 20 year Navy vet, and was very pleased to see the REAL veteran go after the phoney. If it isn't against the law, it should be illegal to impersonate active duty or separated veteran. Lucky he didn't get his butt kicked.

  20. 14046253
    14046253 Apr 15, 2015

    I've seen these false vets in my home town of Mary Esther, Fl. on 3 occassions. I knew they were panhandlers, collecting booze and drug money, I'a m glad that vet stood tall.

  21. QPute
    QPute Apr 18, 2015

    You know I just don't see the phony any different than the show-off who had to get a camera and film his tirade to a guy half his size.. Don't give any of them money!! He took the chance of accosting some guy who makes his living lying and standing on a corner begging for quarters. He also is allowed in this country to own and operate a weapon! leave it to the authorities, you and I know we served, he didn't, if he can live that lie let him. Convince your friends not to give any of them money. True veterans aren't in any way shamed by the behavior of a liar and a thief! If he's a real vet, see if you can actually get him off that corner and help him.

  22. 33851441
    33851441 Apr 21, 2015

    I'm just waiting for some of these people who think that they have the right to accost another citizen or anyone in a uniform to get their heads blown off for being stupid!! If he is such a hotshot wanting to approach anyone who is panhandling over a stolen medal, uniform etc. he deserves what he gets!! Asking for his i.d. card! what is this? as long as the Panhandler isn't breaking any laws it sounds like a violation of this Panhandlers rights under the 14th Amenmendment. Remember, you wear or wore the Uniform to protect these very citizens right to act as he was. The Right to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness... What a Clown, where are the cops when you need one...!!!

  23. DET21
    DET21 May 26, 2015

    I don't blame the true veteran for going after the impostor. It is sad that some people are such scum that they have to try and prey on peoples emotions with stolen valor like that. The guy obviously had some really big cajones to panhandle at the entrance to an active military installation. Anyone that gets caught impersonating a U.S. veteran like that should be fined and jailed for their actions. It totally disgusts me that scum like that have to stoop so low.

  24. 27657591
    27657591 Jun 10, 2015

    This guy is likely to get on a Tower and shoot up the place.

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