Last month, a burglar broke into veteran Andrew Myers’s Seattle house. But as the security camera footage in the YouTube video “Mr. Wrong House – Robber Meets Paratrooper” shows, Myers tackled the robber, punched him and held him until police arrived. The story spread across the country, and the video has been viewed almost 4 million times.
“Part of the reason it became a national story is, gratuitously thanking veterans makes people feel good about themselves,” Myers tells KIRO Radio. “That’s my opinion as a soldier watching civilians. It makes people feel patriotic. It’s like warm apple pie to see veteran justice. Another element to it is, people love instant karma. It really seems like these low-level home invasions are a much bigger deal than I realized. So many of these comments are people with similar experiences.”
When some suggested Myers should try to profit from his new fame, he rejected the idea. But then he got to thinking about a grave problem facing veterans — the suicide rate of 22 deaths a day — and decided his video might be able to help. After all, he knew what it was like to have long lasting effects from military service.
Myers served in Afghanistan as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. When he returned home, he began to experience symptoms of PTSD. He soon contacted Paws and Stripes, an organization that provides service dogs to veterans with PTSD, and was matched with Hunter, an Australian shepherd. Myers instantly felt better with Hunter by his side. “I was 100 percent different person within two days of having the dog. I was like, ‘I need you.'”
So Myers set up a website, MrWrongHouse.com, where he invites people to take a donation challenge which involves uploading a black-and-white photo of themselves with their arms extended in a “come at me, bro” gesture that he makes in the security camera footage, making a donation to Paws and Stripes and nominating three other individuals to participate.
“Go on the porch, do the wingspan pose, take a black and white picture, and challenge your friends to do the same,” he says. “Keep the challenge going long enough to hit that viral-ity that will raise enough money to make a difference.”
After viewing the “Mr. Wrong House” video, our guess is many people will be inclined to do what Myers tells them to do.