There’s cool and then there’s cool. The first is a put-on. The second is Steve McQueen.
While the man in a recent viral video, posted by Facebook user John Kimack, looks a little heavier than the legendary star of “The Great Escape” and “Nevada Smith,” he’s every bit as large and in charge as McQueen ever was.
Tony Tovar, a patron at a St. Louis bar, was the man who stood up to an armed robber who had burst into Behrmann’s Tavern, NBC News reported.
The scene, captured on surveillance footage dated Aug. 28, unfolds as a bartender has his hands up and begins crouching behind the bar, trying to put as much space and hard surface between him and a man with a gun standing out out of frame.
It doesn’t take long for people at the far end of the bar to notice what’s happening and begin seeking cover, hoping against hope that they leave the watering hole with a stunning story and not two in the chest and one in the head.
Then the patron closest to the counter figures out what’s going down, and he starts trying to show the robber he’ll gladly participate as a victim, not a tough guy.
That leaves Tovar as the last man standing, er, sitting. He’s Paul Newman as Lucas “Luke” Jackson, Henry Winkler as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth (I don’t think it’s too soon).
Okay, maybe he’s not as epic as those guys, but he’s definitely as unflappable.
Refusing to have his drink interrupted, Tovar sits calmly atop his barstool, half sizing up, half ignoring the unfolding situating.
When the robber notices the non-nonplussed man, he shoves a gun in his side then tries to take his phone. But Tovar’s having none of that and refuses to give up the phone.
Meeting unexpected (and I’m sure in his mind inexplicable) resistance, the robber moves on, checking on the rest of the patrons and then going behind the bar to find the cash.
It’s at this point that our hero decides things have gotten a little too stressful, so he pulls out a cigarette, exchanges a few words with the robber (maybe asking if the robber minds his smoking?), and then lights up.
Apparently not having any idea what to do with the man, the robber comes back around the bar and shakes down his victims — all but the smoking man — for their cash.
After cleaning out the wallet of the guy sitting next to Tovar, the robber heads back behind the bar, grabbing the bartender on his way and making him open the cash register.
The bartender then assists the robber in bagging up his newly acquired cash and the robber departs just as quickly as he arrived. Not having change his location in the room by even an inch, Tovar prepares to flick some ash from the tip of his cigarette, and the video ends.
The robber’s fate is unknown, as the suspect has not been identified, according to NBC. What is known is that Tony Tovar is the epitome of cool and calm in a crisis.
While he looks great on camera defying the robber, in practice that’s not always the best idea. My rule of thumb (if unarmed) is to give up valuables but refuse to go with the criminal.
Being armed may change those calculations. But I’m not sure there’s any amount of hardware that would give me the confidence that Tovar seems to have.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.