There’s cool and then there’s cool. The first is a put-on. The second is Steve McQueen.
While the guy in this Facebook video, posted by 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.
The scene 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 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 one 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, the man 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 the man’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 our man, 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, the smoker prepares to flick some ash from the tip of his cigarette, and the video ends.
What happened to the unperturbed man, the robber, the bartender and the other patrons is unknown, at least to most of the world. What is known is that our man is the epitome of cool and calm in a crisis. Some liquid courage might have starched him up a little, but he didn’t look especially blitzed.
Regardless, while the man 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 this man seems to have.