The moment a homeless man was ejected from a McDonald’s together with the man who paid for his meal has gone viral, clocking up over 30 million views in one day.
Yossi Gallo started to record the footage after staff at the restaurant in South Carolina refused to give food to a homeless man who he had been invited in from the parking lot for a meal.
He posted the video, taken at Myrtle Beach McDonald’s on Feb. 28, to Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
The 5-minute video picks up the incident as a policewoman talks to the homeless man—while Gallo rails at the staff—before finally asking both to leave.
Police said that they had been called out over a homeless man trespassing on the parking lot. On arrival, they issued a further trespass warning at the request of the restaurant staff— to Gallo.
Gallo said he had invited the man in for food.
“I waved him down, and I said, ‘Hey, are you hungry?’ and he said, ‘Yes,’” Gallo told WMBF. “So I went in there with him, and as soon as we went inside, the lady at the register said, ‘You’re not getting food.’ She tells him he’s not getting food.”
The local restaurant operator later said that the homeless man had a “pattern of disruptive behavior.”
Many commentators on social media were critical and abusive of McDonald’s staff and the officer.
Gallo told WMBF, however, that the officer did nothing wrong, that she was “really nice” and expressed concern that she had been targetted by comments.
“I think that’s completely wrong,” Gallo said. “Completely wrong. I do believe that she was doing her job. I do believe that she was doing her job. She did nothing wrong. I don’t have any anger towards her in any way. I would say please definitely leave her alone.”
Gallo had no such reservation in his criticisms of the restaurant staff.
“You guys suck. He didn’t even ask me for food. I brought him from outside. You guys suck,” Gallo can be heard saying in the video, which contains some profanity.
McDonald’s management told him to stop shouting.
“Calm your voice. That’s what I’m asking you to do,” one of the employees said to Gallo in the video.
“This is how I talk. I talk loud. If the officer has a problem with that, the officer’s going to arrest me,” Gallo responded.
Myrtle Beach Police said in a statement that officers were dispatched after one of the staff phoned and informed them of a man in the parking lot asking people for money.
When an officer arrived, she was asked to issue a trespassing warning to the homeless man, and then asked him to leave the premises.
“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,” said the police statement. “Both individuals complied with the request of the business and left the premises.”
McDonald’s issued the following statement from local McDonald’s owner/operator Joel Pellicci Junior to ABC 15:
“At my restaurant, the goal is to provide our customers with a positive and welcoming experience each time they visit. Unfortunately, the individual in this video [ABC confirms this refers to the homeless man] has a history of disruptive behavior and has been asked to leave by management and police on several occasions.”