TAMPA, Fla. – An irate Army veteran confronted a panhandler in Florida who was wearing a military uniform after realizing he had never served, according to a report.
Garrett Goodwin, who served as an Army combat medic for nearly 10 years, was driving in South Tampa to MacDill Air Force Base on Sunday when he saw a panhandler in military attire, CNN affiliate WFTS reported. At first, Goodwin wanted to help.
“I would have made sure he had a place to live and food in his stomach and the services he needed,” he told the station.
But then he realized the unidentified man wasn’t an actual veteran just by asking him a simple question, according to the television station.
“Show me your veterans ID card,” he asked.
When the panhandler couldn’t produce one, Goodwin confronted him.
“Then take off my uniform,” he shouted, following the man. “You take that uniform off.”
Goodwin kept pressing until the man appeared to retreat.
“I’m about public safety and public service and when it comes to the military, seeing people in uniform that … we bled, sweat, cried and burned through, it disgusts me,” he said.
Goodwin captured the confrontation on video and posted to his Facebook page. It has since gone viral.
While the real veteran has received a lot of praise since exposing the panhandler as a fake, he has also received criticism for his rough approach, WFTS reported.
“I think he owed us an explanation,” Goodwin explained. “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.”
CNN contributed to this story.