A man dressed up in an Army uniform received a 20 percent discount on his Starbucks coffee in the Fresno, California airport and was confronted on camera by a former Army specialist and accused of stealing valor.
The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes it illegal to impersonate a member of the military in order to benefit materially or financially — including receiving a discounted cup of joe.
Christian Parmer, a former U.S. Army combat engineer, spotted several inconsistencies in the man’s uniform and confronted him about it.
“He’s wearing his hat in doors, which we don’t,” Parmer told KMPH. “He’s got a confederate flag on his shoulder, which we don’t wear of course.”
Parmer asked the man several questions before firing up his video camera.
“Before I filmed, I asked to see if he really was a soldier. He said yeah I’m Army EOD. I said okay, okay and I walked off. I said, ‘No this can’t be right; no soldier would wear his uniform in public in that manner.'”
The man claimed the uniform was his step-son’s and that he was wearing it because he had no other clothes.
“I have nothing else that was clean. I have no other clothes that are here right now,” said the man, who said he was 44 years old and ex-military.
Parmer pressed the man on his previous statement that he was a member of the Explosives Ordnance Disposal unit, or EOD.
“I did not say I was EOD, I said DOD,” the man said, referring to the Department of Defense.
Parmer then asked the man his MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty — akin to a military job code.
The man didn’t answer, only saying “I cannot believe I’m going to get jammed up for dropping off my dad.”
The man was at the airport to see his father off to Europe.
KMPH followed up on the man’s coffee purchase.
An employee at the airport’s Starbucks told the news station that the man did receive a 20 percent discount on his drink. The employee said that gave the discount because she believed the man was active-duty military.
Police questioned the man and asked him to leave the airport.