Irate vet confronts panhandler posing in military uniform

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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.


  • Tracy McPherson

    Panhandlers wearing uniforms they didnt earn are cashing in on the misfortune of those who sacrificed for this country. Wrong Wrong Wrong. I support Garrett Goodwin<3

  • Ken Gorman

    Posing a military vet to take other people’s money is just as bad as Eddie Murphy’s character in Trading Places pretending to be disabled. Go Goodwin!

    • Rob

      Bully my a**, he got what he deserved and if you served in the military you would know better. Anyone who puts on the uniform just to gain sympathy and make money when they never served should be ashamed of themselves.

  • BornandRaisedSanDiego

    Kevin, it is obvious you have never served for this country. The panhandler was a fraud in the biggest way and I’m proud of this man to stand up for the uniform. It is because of their service that you have the right to post crazy comments, please go thank a veteran for his or her service.

  • Jason

    This veteran is a bully. No ifs ands or buts about it. The begger is living on the streets. He is doing what he has to do to survive. Compassion is one of the highest human virtues. I guess this virtue is not one this veteran learned in the military. You cannot coercion someone to do what you want them to do. It’s not surprising this veteran is ignorant of this truth. They don’t teach you the virtues of love and kindness in the military. They do teach you the lie though that might makes right.

    • Rob

      No Jason, they reach you Honor and Sacrifice, two of the greatest gifts
      you can give your country just so people like you have the right to say something so idiotic. Before you say something so ridiculous of which you obviously have no clue, why don’t you volunteer and see for yourself.

    • Jim

      Jason where is the compassion in deceiving the public and taking their money? You had two choices here, either support the actual veteran and his actions or the lying stealing pan handler that you know nothing about. A little Bullying has more positive effects on character than if it didnt exist at all.

  • Todd Harveston

    Reading the story, it says…”Garrett Goodwin, who served as an Army combat medic for nearly 10 years”

    So Garrett spends ten years of his life helping wounded soldiers in combat.
    That here is a real American hero.

    He witnesses a guy down wearing a uniform and faking veteran status.
    Garrett verbally berates him, and people are all butt-hurt over it ??
    Sweet jesus, I’ve had drill instructors yell at me way worse than that during my boot camp !!

    And maybe, just maybe, this is exactly what this pan-handler needs to get him working an honest job.

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