The man behind the camera in a viral video filmed at a Myrtle Beach McDonald's said he has nothing against the police officer in the incident — in fact, he hopes if he is ever confronted by an officer, it's her.
"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," Yossi Gallo told The Sun News Thursday evening. "She had a task, that's what's she's there for, and I have nothing against her."
Never miss a local story.
He also said, "By all means if I ever got in trouble. I would want to be confronted by a police officer, that's the police officer I'd want to be confronted by. She was very nice, she was very polite. I have a feeling that if it was a different police officer, I would have already been arrested."
Gallo is at the center of a viral video shot at the 2200 N. Kings Highways McDonald's. The video has nearly 50 million views online and thousands of comments on Facebook and other social media. Gallo filmed the video of police telling a homeless man that he was trespassing inside the eatery. During the clip, Gallo loudly says that he and a homeless man are being removed because he purchased the man a meal.
More than 36 hours after the incident, Gallo shows his Facebook page and the notifications about dozens of new comments appear seconds after each other. He has countless new friend requests and messages from around the globe as a result of his post.
Some of the comments are negative, and Gallo said he tries not to listen to them. For the others, he said, it's nice to see people who care.
Gallo said he tries to help others down in life, whether they are homeless or sick, as he said he has a place for them in his heart.
"I love helping others," he said.
Gallo, who lives in Myrtle Beach, has had previous run-ins with the law in Louisiana, including taxes and violations with a smoke shop. There also was an immigration issue, but Gallo said all past problems are resolved. Those arrests were for Yossi Galimidi, as he said his full name is Yossi Gallo Galimidi.
The 39-year-old sat down with The Sun News to recap the incident at the Myrtle Beach McDonald's. The man with salt-and-pepper hair wearing a black T-shirt also spoke about the experience of going viral.
Gallo said around 11 a.m. Wednesday he drove to the McDonald's for a bite to eat. He saw the man, who was homeless or downtrodden, nearby and asked if he was hungry.
The two entered the eatery, and Gallo said an employee at the register told the man he was not getting food. Then, Gallo said he was paying for the unidentified man. They sat down at nearby tables, but not together.
"He was very quiet, very polite, didn't cause any kind of problem," Gallo said. "He didn't smell. He doesn't act up. He wasn't doing anything that you would not want in a restaurant."
Gallo estimated that the police officer arrived about five minutes later. The officer approached the homeless man's table and told him he was trespassing. Gallo got angry as the events unfolded and started to film the encounter.
"I got really upset. I got really upset," Gallo said.
When the officer told the man he was begging, Gallo said that wasn’t the case. The man was walking away from McDonald's when Gallo spotted him.
Though, Gallo admitted he didn't know the man's history or what happened before he went to the fast-food establishment.
At that point in the incident, Gallo said he got louder and the McDonald's manager said he wanted Gallo removed. Gallo said he was upset as he was ousted for buying a homeless man food.
"Of course I was embarrassed, everyone was looking at me that they're asking me to leave," Gallo said. "I'm getting kicked out of a fast-food restaurant."
After the incident, Gallo posted it to his Facebook so friends could see for themselves. His friend Shane was the first to comment. When Gallo returned to Facebook 40 minutes later, he couldn't keep up with the comments as they flooded his screen.
"It was overwhelming how fast this got out. And it just shows a lot of people do care," Gallo said.
He also said about the reaction: "If someone feels I'm doing this to show off, then by all means show off. If I'm doing this to show off, hey, look, I'm helping, or, hey ,look, why don't you do that as well? If everyone does that, we'll have a beautiful world."
Even as the messages and comments continue to roll in more than a day later, Gallo said he didn't have regrets.
"I hoping it sends a message to people: don't be afraid to stick up for someone that is homeless. They are people, too. We could have been there, too. It doesn't take much to not be homeless."