Meet the Marine who did not seduce two cops at Taco Bell

Eric Dehm
June 29, 2018 - 1:28 pm

Photo courtesy Daniel Sharp

The story sounded unbelievable, but in that believable way. Sure, the headline about a Florida veteran seducing two police officers following a routine traffic stop at Taco Bell might have sounded outlandish, but there are stories just as strange every day.

Here, take a look for yourself:

Photo courtesy Pop Smoke

That screenshot, from an unnamed news organization's website, looks pretty legit. There's a mugshot of a disheveled, bearded man and even those little buttons that let you share things to Pinterest or Myspace or wherever, that nobody ever uses. And truthfully, would you really be shocked if this or any other wild tale following the words "Florida veteran" turned out to be true? 

Of course it turns out it's not a true story but the creation of the dissheveled man in the mug shot, seen at the top of this story looking rather more unruly. Daniel Sharp is not from Florida, though he is a 12-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He's also the creator of Pop Smoke, a popular veteran Facebook page that mixes funny, original, military-centric posts with more serious news-related items. 

 

As far as the Taco Bell police threesome post, Sharp says it was just an idea that popped into his head after hearing another of the wacky stories that seem to emanate from the sunshine state. The simple idea has reached an audience of millions, well beyond Pop Smoke's 500,000+ subscribers. Along with receiving media attention, Sharp says slam pieces from websites claiming to have "busted" him for fabricating the story, which is odd since he has fully admitted to creating it from the start.

Still, Sharp says the overall response was positive.

"You have people in the comments saying 'that guy is too ugly, too untalented to pull that off'" Sharp said during a recent appearance on the ConnectingVets Morning Briefing radio show.

"But for the majority, most of the people were very supportive and thought it was really funny and it was great satire... you kinda hafta temper yourself, like you see ten bad comments and think 'oh man, everybody hates me' but you look at the analytics and something around 4 million people saw it just on my page."

Tempering his response to negative social media is also important because despite its massive success, Pop Smoke is not Sharp's only job, in fact it's one of many. 

He's a contributing editor for American Military News, recently travelling to places like Russia and Cuba to cover stories. He's also a small business owner, having spent his terminal leave purchasing a franchise region for J-Dog Junk Removal, a company that only sells franchises to veteran families. 

While it might not be something many vets think of, Sharp believes entering into a franchise is something that vets with an entrepreneurial spirit should consider. When asked why, Sharp points out that having the infrastructure of the organization already in place allowed him to turn a profit franchise immediately after taking his last paycheck from the Corps.

"Look at it from a military perspective," Sharp said. "Do you want to take over a position that's already established for the most part and then make your own upgrades and fortifications or do you want to do everything from scratch? Either way is fine, if the veteran has a great idea and they really want to run it themselves, that's fantastic."

Along with his work on Pop Smoke, his contributions to American Military News and running the J-Dog franchise Sharp is already plenty busy but has even more coming down the pipe. He's got plans in the works for veteran networking events, a merchandise line and a book. He's even fielding an offer for a TV pilot that the Marine is reticent to talk too much about until it's agreed upon. 

To hear more from Pop Smoke's Daniel Sharp, including his time in the Marine Corps, why he left, and his advice for finding success and happiness, you can listen to the full interview below. To listen later, click Share and select Download from the available options. 

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