Locals, Lawmakers Raise Thousands For Lansing's 'Hot Dog Guy'

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Clint Tarver was trying to do what he does best during the right-to-work protests.

"To give out hot dogs," Tarver, Lansing's official hot dog man for more than five years, said. "I'm not this side, I'm not on that side. I'm just here trying to make money because people asked me to come out and sell hot dogs."

His sales were cut short though when things heated up Tuesday, and protestors trampled the tent he was under. Tarver said men yelled racial slurs at him.

"People standing on my table, smashing it, dumping my chili out on the ground, cheese sauerkraut," Tarver said. "Throwing the soda and coolers."

They ruined his hot dogs and buns as well, causing about $400 worth of damage for Lansing's favorite hot dog man. When word got out, people had a tough time swallowing what happened. Lorilea Zabadal, a Republican staffer for Representative Al Pscholka set up an online fundraiser at Support Clint with a $2,000 goal that was met by 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. Zabadal couldn't believe the support the website fund got so quickly, and not just because she's a vegetarian.

"What happened to Clint absolutely broke my heart, and I thought, hey, someone has to do something about this," Zabadal said. "I never expected this. I never imagined that at all."

Supporting Clint is something both sides of the aisle can agree on right now. Republicans have already asked him to cater a lunch before the legislative session ends, and democrats are next in line.

"He's a friend to a lot of people that work here in downtown Lansing," Democratic Floor Leader-Elect Rep. Rudy Hobbs said. "So, it was important for us to go out and support him, and make sure he's whole again."

Lt. Governor Brian Calley donated $100 and tweeted about it, while even a Representative in Arizona contributed. A local union said they're sending a check Thursday. The website itself - Go Fund Me - told Zabadal it wants to help advertise Clint's cause.

"I'm just so overwhelmed with that, because I had no idea...people liked me so much," Tarver said.

Clint has plans for his more than $23,000. He said he'll donate some to his church and "bling out" a new cart.

"I'll definitely get a brand new cart with some more added stuff onto it," Tarver said. "Things I've always wanted."

His fans are already putting in requests.

"I'm hoping that he'll maybe start serving veggie dogs," Zabadal said.

The website will be up and running as long as people keep donating.

This is Tarver's off-season for the hot dog cart. It will be back open in March.

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  • by Name Location: Location on Dec 19, 2012 at 07:00 AM
    It doesn't matter if these vandals were union members or not. The behavior of a few does not mean that ALL union members would behave in this fashion. If that were true, there would have been much more mayhem and destruction. Don't get me wrong, this behavior is unacceptable but it is also unacceptable to say that the behavior of a few is indicative of an entire group. How silly!
  • by Fred Location: Lansing on Dec 17, 2012 at 01:18 PM
    Looks to me like only about four or five people worked on that tent. They might be union supporters or anti-right to work, but you can't prove they were "union people." There's a lot of crying and moaning anti-union comments here. WILX's reporting on the TV was extremely anti-union-supporter. I am against right-to-work and think everyone who is saying this is a union plot are full of cr@p.
  • by Barry Location: NH on Dec 14, 2012 at 09:39 AM
    Typical Union business busting. If they can't get a piece of the take, they bust up the business. Organized crime at it's best. It you don't have talent, education or a sense of values, work for a union.
  • by Zebula on Dec 14, 2012 at 09:11 AM
    This is why civilized people do not support unions.
  • by Lee on Dec 14, 2012 at 05:55 AM
    It is a sad day when grown adults act like children throwing a tantrum. I know people feel strongly on this issue but geez this is just childish!
  • by Laura Location: Dayton, OH on Dec 14, 2012 at 03:52 AM
    I have been to Lansing which is one of my favorite moderately sized cities. Quiet, uncrowded and clean, in Lansing my family and I all felt safe and at ease walking through the downtown area. It breaks my heart that Lansing, of all places, was the setting for such hateful and wreck-less behavior. The union folks who did this should be ashamed of themselves! I am thrilled some of the perpetrators were caught on film and look forward to seeing them brought to justice. Adults, let's be respectful of each other and for gosh sakes, don't ruin Lansing!
  • by Name Location: Location on Dec 14, 2012 at 03:48 AM
    HAHA I love how the Union supporters are saying the Union did not do it. Typical never your fault always someone elses fault. Even funnier is they want their rights to protest aknowledged but when supports are there they do not respect the supporters rights. Once again typical. Its ok though the Union will get theres in the end. PS keep talking all the garbage about not voting for Snyder cause im sure more of us will now that many of our families without jobs will now have work and not be forced to be part of a corrupt union. YAH
  • by Unions Suck Location: Detroit on Dec 13, 2012 at 10:52 PM
    Just goes to show you that union members are no better than muggers, thieves and rapists.
  • by Karen Location: Kalamazoo MI on Dec 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM
    I was there on Tuesday when it all happened. UNION BULLIES kept pushing their line closer and closer to the tent to rush it and tear it down. There was a line of Marshalls to try and keep the peace but were overwhelmed by the UNION BULLIES. They were pulling on the lines and pulling out stakes for quit some time before they really rushed the tent. They were grabbing at signs, cameras and other peoples personal belongings, There was a lot of Cussing, Slurs going on about any name someone shouted out. A lot of damage was done to property--both rented and personal.
  • by James Location: Lansing on Dec 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM
    I love how at the end of the day, an entrepreneur walks away with thousands. LOL!
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