As a knife-wielding would-be robber made his way to the the check-out counter at a Rutland, Vermont, convenience store, he had no idea the clerk he was about to target happened to be a Vietnam veteran with a .380-caliber handgun hidden behind his back.

Don Pitaniello, 58, said he was about to close the store just before 9:30 p.m. on Sunday when a man wearing a hoodie and a bandana over his face entered holding a 5-inch blade and a bag, likely for cash. The clerk says he knew exactly what was going on as soon as the man entered.

Surveillance image via Mac’s Convenience Store/Rutland Herald

Surveillance image via Mac’s Convenience Store/Rutland Herald

“Empty the register,” the suspect reportedly demanded.

Pitaniello says he cocked his head and replied, “Really?”

In an attempt to intimidate the clerk, the thug reportedly responded by waving his knife in Pitaniello’s face.

That’s when Pitaniello raised his .380 and pointed it directly at the robber’s head. He then ordered him to “get the (expletive) out of here.”

And he did. In fact, the suspect reportedly took off running without saying a word.

The Vietnam veteran later told the Rutland Herald that he has been suspended from his job after violating several store policies, including a no-gun policy. Even though he could lose his job, Pitaniello says he has no regrets about how he handled the situation.

“That store has been robbed eight or nine times and I always work nights,” he told the Herald. “I’m a firm believer in having a gun and not needing it rather than the other way around. I can always find a new job.”

(H/T: Fox Nation)