Friends, family come forward after viral panhandler video

Panhandling is not illegal in Vancouver

Roy Heiser along a Vancouver street, May 25, 2016 (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Here is what happens when a Facebook video goes viral.

People in the video get recognized.

That is what happened when KOIN 6 News aired a video of a man confronting a panhandler on NE Andresen Rd. and NE Fourth Plain Blvd. in Vancouver. Jimmy Severs, the man who filmed and confronted the panhandler, didn’t like that the panhandler was getting into a newer Toyota pickup truck.

But the panhandler’s brother says it’s actually Severs’ behavior in the video that he doesn’t like.

“Like, wow, did the stranger ask him anything about his situation, just slandered him that bad,” says Ralph Heiser.

KOIN 6 News was contacted by several people claiming the panhandler, whose name is Roy, has mental health issues. Roy’s brother says those issues were made worse when he lost loved ones.

“He said to me he has no hope for living no more because his wife and daughter are dead.”

Ralph Heiser says his brother Roy has mental health issues, May 26, 2016 (KOIN)

Heiser says his 68-year-old brother actually lives in that truck seen in the video when he can’t afford a motel room. He pays for the room with loose change.

“Everybody thinks there’s something underlying, like he lives in a mansion. There’s no mansion, he’s lost everything,” says friend Latasha Miller.

Family and friends tell KOIN 6 News they’ve tried to help Roy, but he doesn’t always listen. They have encouraged him to sell the truck but they understand why he doesn’t.

“That’s the only thing he has left in the whole wide world is his truck,” Heiser says.

Heiser is now worried for Roy’s safety. He says someone kicked his truck last night, leaving a big dent in it.

A man confronted a panhandler who got into the newer truck and the video is going viral (JIMMY SEVERS/FACEBOOK)

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