Army vet pranks civilians by giving them PTSD symptoms at a coffee shop

A former US Army Green Beret used smoke, mirrors and a serious sound systems to psyche out unsuspecting coffee shop patrons and educate them on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Special Forces veteran Brian Anderson took on the role of a “barista,” one of many actors who took over a coffee shop in an experiment aimed at explaining the effects of PTSD.

Unsuspecting patrons expecting a cup of coffee soon found themselves questioning their sanity after they found themselves subjected to loud and sudden sounds of explosions, dogs barking and cars crashing.

However, when the patrons looked around, nobody seemed to have heard the calamity that shook many of them to the core.

Ultimately, the patrons were let in on the pranks and invited to the backroom of the coffee shop, where they were asked how they felt when nobody else responded to the stimuli.

“What would you think if you had to deal with the same things you dealt with today, everyday?” Anderson asked one woman.

“That would be debilitating, it would be scary to even leave my house,” she said. “Because you don’t know when or what to expect from day to day life.”

Joining after the events on September 11, 2001, Brian served 14 years in the Army and spent over 33 months in combat zones. With three Bronze Stars (one with Valor) to his name, he’s no stranger to conflict.

Leaving active duty in 2012, he went to school for social work and remained in service through the Army National Guard.

Realizing the shortage of services available for veterans, he helped stand up One Community Now Stand Down, a group which helps provide resources “to help veterans get back on their feet and off the streets.”

The “prank” in itself was performed with the help of ART International Training and Research, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization geared towards supporting “innovative research, clinician training and education and assist with access to Accelerated Resolution Therapy for individuals suffering from trauma.”

According to the video description, ART incorporates “visualization techniques that are enhanced by the use of eye movements, similar to restorative eye movement and rapid eye movement of sleep (REM), as well as voluntary memory and image replacement.”

The experiment is quite effective, indeed- and a solemn reminder of what many people afflicted with PTSD face on a daily basis.

You can find out more about Brian and his experience with PTSD in the video below.

YouTube video

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