Man shown in viral SWFL Costco video shares what he says led up to it

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: Shared with WINK News.

A man in Southwest Florida has received attention in a video that went viral after being posted to the internet. He was shown angrily yelling toward a fellow customer at a Costco after she asked him to wear a mask and follow the store’s policy. Now, the man was able to share his side of the story and explain how the video’s attention has affected him.

Dan Maples in Bonita Springs says his life has been turned upside down. He lost his job and says people are leaving him disturbing messages, telling him they wish he contracted the coronavirus. It all happened after a video shared online showed him enraged at a Costco at Gulf Coast Town Center in Lee County recently.

Maples spoke to radio host Trey Radel on the Drive on 92.5 FOX News Friday, and told him there is more to the video that was shared.

“What you don’t see in the video is me pleading with the person to please stop and get away from me,” Maples told Radel. “I got backed into a corner. It was not something I deal with on a daily basis, someone screaming at me and filming me and trying to rally a mob against me.”

Maples says what was shown in the video is not a depiction of how he normally behaves.

“I lost my control,” Maples said. “I gave someone else the opportunity and power to escalate my emotions.”

Maples says it all started when a senior citizen asked him to put on a mask in the back of the store.

“The woman was telling me she had cancer,” Maples said.

Maples says he thought back to his dad.

“I’m sorry I’m not as sensitive about that,” Maples said. “That’s something if you say to me when I watched my dad die in my arms, then, why are you at Costco?”

Maples says he was wearing a mask but took it off.

“I can’t breathe when I have the mask,” Maples said. “I feel like I’m suffocating. I feel claustrophobic, drowning type thing.”

The man behind the camera says he cut in to help the woman, and Maples screamed.

But Maples has a different account of the interaction at Costco.

“Runs and screams at best of my recollection, ‘9,000 new cases, 9,000 new cases. This man isn’t wearing a mask,’” Maples recalled.

Once the video surfaced Tuesday, Maples says he quickly learned he lost his job.

“Things are tough enough,” Maples said. “Initially, losing my job causes a lot of panic. Because, at this point, we rely on that and immediately causes panic. ‘Hey, I just got fired.’ My son goes, ‘Hey, dad, you’re a failure.’”

Ted Todd insurance agency in Bonita Springs, Maples’ former company, says this behavior is in direct conflict with its company values.

Maples said he’s now receiving threats. He says that is something that really needs to be changed in society.

“Society needs to look at the bigger picture and the toll it takes on people,” Maples said. “It’s not a meme. It’s a life. I worked so hard for so long to become who I was, and, now, it’s all for nothing.”

The man behind the video did not want to be identified in fear of safety for him and his family. Costco did not want to comment on the video, but their policy states customers and employees are required to wear a mask inside the store.

Now, Maples is looking for some form of recourse.

“At this point, I want my life back,” Maples said.

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