The former Florida insurance agent fired for his expletive-filled tirade after being asked to wear a mask in a Fort Myers Costco is asking the public to give him a second chance, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
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"All I'm really asking for is a second chance at a first impression for people to know the real me and not take 15 seconds of my life and turn me into a demon," he told the News-Press.
The man said that since the incident went viral, he has received hundreds of threatening texts, emails and voicemails, some threatening his son's life, while others have published the address of his home online.
The former insurance agent was caught on camera in a video that has gone viral on social media, in which he confronted another customer, telling them to back up and stop harassing him and his family after being asked to put on a mask and stay six feet away.
"You're harassing me?" the man says as he clenches his fists, to which the other man replies, "I'm not harassing you, you're coming close to me."
The man continues to approach the customer, yelling, "I feel threatened, I feel threatened! Back up! Threaten me again! Back the f--- up, put your f---ing phone down."
The man told Fort Myers-News Press that he doesn't like wearing a mask because he can feel claustrophobic.
"After a while I start to feel like I'm suffocating. I get claustrophobic and that's an issue for me," Maples said. "I prefer not wear the mask. It's something that causes me a lot of distress."
The man said he was confronted by multiple people for not wearing a mask in the store.
"It was like the mob was gathering around me and I felt threatened," he said. "I wanted to remove myself from the situation and I did."
After the incident, he said he was asked to leave the store by a Costco employee and complied.
"I had no intentions of being there long," he told the News-Press. "I saw other shoppers not wearing masks. I saw the Costco employees not wearing masks. I keep my distance. I try to be polite if I'm not wearing a mask and I understand people are sensitive."
Following the incident, the man was later confirmed to be an employee for Todd Insurance Agency, which terminated his employment after the video surfaced online.
"Thank you to everyone for their comments and messages raising awareness about a former employee at Ted Todd Insurance. Their behavior in the video is in direct conflict with our company values and their employment has been terminated," Todd Insurance Agency CEO Charley Todd said. "Threatening behavior and intimidation go against our core mission to be trusted advisors in our community. We are also committed to immediately reviewing our internal existing culture at TTI. We ask that further feedback be sent to HR@tedtoddinsurance.com."
While a spokesperson for Costco has declined to comment on the incident, the company has had a strict policy since May 4 requiring its customers to wear facial coverings to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement on its website.
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“We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience,” Costco President and CEO Craig Jelinek said. "This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer but others, too."
The man is the latest Costco customer who has gone viral for not wearing a mask following a similar incident that occurred at another Costco location last month.