More than half a million people in the United States alone today are homeless. These individuals, human beings, range in diversity across all aspects of life from veterans to children. Some say with certainty that homelessness is an epidemic.
Over the last few years, many have found ways of being productive, like Horia Manolache, whose book "The Prince and the Pauper" shows homeless people photographed as their dream job. Horia went out of his way to help the homeless individuals he worked with. Or like the story of Wanja Mwaura and Patrick Hinga, childhood friends who worked together to overcome personal homelessness and drug addiction.
On the other side, the less helpful side, communities have demonized homelessness like in London, where the city has installed metal spikes to prevent homeless people from relaxing in plain sight.
As you can clearly see, people remain divided over how to treat the homeless population. Some people have compassion and utilize a variety of techniques to reach out and help those in need. From running kitchens to giving them spare change and sometimes inviting them to sit down for a hot meal. Such was the case for one South Carolina man who invited a homeless man to sit down inside McDonald's with him and enjoy a hot meal. What he, and surely no one else, expected to happen was the direct involvement with the state police!
A video surfaced on YouTube recently, originally recorded by a Yossi Gallo and posted under the username 'cbasswm'.
In the video, we clearly see a gentlemen repeatedly telling the staff of the McDonald'sin Myrtle Beach that they "suck." Why? Because they called the police in order to have a homeless man removed from their establishment. In the video we hear very clear explanations from both sides. The man behind the camera states that he willingly paid for the homeless man's lunch, and they were causing no trouble. But the staff and the police found this to be irrelevant, claiming the homeless man had previously been harassing potential customers outside the building. They claimed he was "trespassing."
Throughout the video, the homeless man seems calm, despite the chaos surrounding him.
Certainly it is no easy task to be a police officer in America these days and you could easily insist that the police officer invovled was simply doing their job. Yet one cannot help but scoff listening to the officer say point blank:
I am the law.
Even worse, because of course it can get worse, we also see in the video the manager of the McDonalds insist that the police officer remove Gallo from the establishment, despite the fact that he paid for both meals! Why, you ask? Because he was being "disorderly." And of course, the police offer complied with the request.
At this point, Gallo is frustrated and annoyed. He demands a refund for his meal. I mean, can you blame him?
The brief and frustrating video ends when both men are escorted out of the McDonalds by the police officer. The officer was relentlessly berated online when the video went viral but she insists she was just doing her job and asked people to leave her alone! And of all people you may or may not expect to have an opinion on the officer, Gallo made a statement, urging people to do as she requested:
I see all these thousands of comments that are very disgusting toward her and I don't think it's her problem. I don't think she did anything wrong. She had a task, that's what's she's there for, and I have nothing against her.
At the end of the video, we also see Gallo invite the homeless man to his car to join him for lunch somewhere more accommodating and less judgemental.
Myrtle Beach police released the following statement about the incident, after the fact:
The police department is aware of a video involving a Myrtle Beach Police Officer that is circulating on Facebook. The video was recorded this morning at a McDonald’s restaurant that is located in the City of Myrtle Beach.
Officers were dispatched to the location after receiving a call, from an employee of the business, that a male was in the parking lot asking people for money. Upon arriving at the restaurant, an employee approached the officer and indicated the male was inside the establishment. The employee requested the officer issue a trespassing warning and asked that the person leave the premises. The officer advised the male of the request made by the business and issued the warning. A bystander, who was videotaping the incident was also trespassed from the location, at the request of the manager, for what management deemed as disorderly behavior.
Both individuals complied with the request of the business and left the premises.
Judge for yourself, watch the video and let us know what you think: