Officer Tony Carlson made headlines last week after a bystander filmed him shaving a homeless man’s beard in a gas station parking lot. The spontaneous barbershop experience was prompted because the homeless man was told that he wouldn’t be able to start working at McDonald’s unless he shaved his beard. Well, Carlson’s efforts to protect and shave paid off: an update from the police department says that the man got the job with a little help from the Florida government.
Carlson described the incident at a press conference with the Tallahasse Police Department, saying that Phil, the homeless man with the beard, had approached him the previous week asking if he knew anything about fixing clippers. Upon taking a look at the clippers, Carlson saw that the gadget was simply missing some screws.
As luck would have it, Carlson happened to have some replacement screws on hand. After tightening the screws, the clippers worked fine.
Phil then started to shave in the gas station parking lot – but because he didn’t have a mirror, he was having some trouble. Carlson then offered to help him shave.
Video of the heartwarming deed, which was reposted by the Tallahasse Police Department, was shared thousands of times. Social media users praised Carlson’s kindness and urged the department to keep them updated on whether Phil landed the job or not.
“I didn’t do anything spectacular. It happens all the time,” says Carlson. “It just so happened that this time somebody caught it on film. Officers all over the place in other cities are always doing things like this that don’t get the attention.
“I think of us more as peace officers first, law enforcement officers second,” he added. “You know, you go to a scene and you try to resolve it with a positive ending and something that’s going to last.”
A few days after the video went viral, Carlson then made a post explaining how his family had gone out to dinner and saw Phil sitting under a bridge. Carlson and his kids bought some cheeseburgers for their new friend and stopped by Phil’s camp to say hi.
“Phil was surprised and excited to see me,” wrote Carlson. “He pulled out the Tallahassee Democrat front page, that had me and him on it, and showed it to me. He then told me he had talked to the manager at McDonald’s and he was set to get a job, but he still needed to get his ID/SS card.
“I then told Phil I had good news about that and told him I had been contacted by Senator Marco Rubio’s office here in town. They stated they had also seen the story and wanted to help Phil get his ID and Social Security card.
“I told Phil when I got to work on Thursday I would print out the paperwork they emailed to me and bring it by for Phil to fill out. They also said Phil could come by their office and they would help him with the process.
“Phil was super excited and assured me he would be ready for Thursday.”