Don Pitaniello had a choice to make back in June while working at Mac’s Convenience Store in Rutland, Vermont. He could take a stand and draw his weapon to protect himself in the face of a knife-wielding robber or he could submit to the lawbreaker’s demands, hoping that he wouldn’t be injured or killed in the process.
Pitaniello, a Vietnam veteran, choose the former and survived the encounter. But he also, upon pulling his a .380-caliber handgun from his back pocket, sent the robber running for his life.
The unidentified suspect still remains at large.
As consequence of his decision, Pitaniello was not greeted as a hero by his employer. Instead, leadership at Mac’s admonished him for violating the company’s strict “no guns allowed policy,” which is in effect despite the fact that the store location had been robbed several times in the past.
Pitaniello recounted his conversation with the store’s legal representative a few days following the incident.
“I waited for 30 minutes,” Pitaniello told ABC News. “Then a lawyer came in and belittled and scolded me for 20 minutes.”
“I decided that I shouldn’t stay in a company like that,” Pitaniello said.
“I am a firm believer in having a gun and not needing it rather than the other way around. I can always find a new job,” Pitaniello continue, adding that he was given another offer for work the very next day.
Detective Sgt. James Tarbell of the Rutland Police Department acknowledged that the store had “been robbed quite a few times,” explaining how it is an ideal location for criminals because its a bit isolated from the rest of the city.
“It is far away from foot traffic, and it is very easy to get in and get out of the store,” Tarbell explained.
To learn more about Pitaniello, check out this profile by Ginny Simone of the NRA News: