Donations Pour in to Help Mich. Hot Dog Vendor After Protesters Destroyed His Supplies

Leah Barkoukis

12/16/2012 9:11:00 AM - Leah Barkoukis

Clint Tarver’s hot dog stand was destroyed during protests over the passage of Right to Work legislation at Michigan’s state capitol building last week. As Kate reported, Tarver was not involved in the protests but was hired by Americans for Prosperity to cater their tent as they counter-protested. As union thugs tore down AFP’s tent, they also destroyed Tarver’s equipment and called him an “Uncle Tom” among other racial slurs.

 “The Hot Dog Guy’s” luck has turned around, however. A staff member for a local lawmaker set up an online fundraiser for Tarver and as of Friday, more than $33,000 has been donated.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Tarver said Friday. “The public has shown such love to me. You never know your true friends until you get down and I’ve had people I thought were pretty close to me and they’ve given me one call. You learn from your endeavors.”

Lorilea Zabadal, a staff member for Republican state Rep. Al Pscholka, established the fundraiser  after learning of Tarver’s plight.

“Everyone who has passed the hot dog cart knows what a kind and caring individual Clint is,” Zabadal wrote. “He never fails to bestow a smile or friendly greeting. In no way [did] he provoke this attack, nor any of the behavior displayed toward him. Regardless of your position on current legislation, rebuilding Clint's Hot Dogs is something we can all support. Please give what you can to get this deserving businessman back out there!”

So what will he do with the money?

“First of all, I’m going to get a brand new cart,” he said. “And I have sick sister, so I’m going to help her out and I’m going to help my church too.”

Tarver said Zabadal is a Facebook friend of his wife, Linda. He’s blown away by her unexpected concern, he said.

“Well, she’s a vegetarian and it’s really odd that she started this website for me,” he said. “So there’s going to be a Lorilea hot dog. And it’ll be vegetarian.”

Tarver’s cart will have other new offerings come next spring, although nothing has been finalized as of yet, he said.

“Right now, I’m just thanking everyone for the gifts and love they’ve shown me,” he said. “I’ve forgiven the people who broke all of my stuff. I’ve prayed for them and that’s where I’m at now.”