A food vendor in Los Angeles is receiving an outpouring of support after a man flipped over his food cart. The altercation, which was caught on tape, also highlights an ongoing debate in LA about whether street food vending should be legalized.

Benjamín Ramírez, a Mexican immigrant, frequents the Hollywood neighborhood with his pushcart, selling shaved-ice slushies and Mexican street corn.

Ramírez had been approached by the man who eventually flipped his food cart several times before the July incident, according to the Los Angeles Times: "Benjamin Ramirez first noticed the thin, bearded man in late June, standing across the street, staring at him, as he sold shave-ice slushies and Mexican street corn.

"Over the next few weeks, on three occasions, Ramirez, 24, said the man and a woman harassed him about doing business in their Hollywood neighborhood. They told him that it was illegal and that he was blocking the sidewalk."

When the man and woman approached Ramírez on July 17, he took out his phone and filmed the interaction, catching the moment the man flipped over the pushcart, spilling Ramírez's corn, syrup, chips and other supplies on the sidewalk.

Since the incident, Ramírez has become something of a folk hero.

"He has been catapulted to an only-in-LA kind of fame," said Saul Gonzalez, a reporter for KCRW who’s been covering this story. "They've made T-shirts and hats to honor him ... and he's had the great honor of having music written about him."

The incident has also brought to the fore an ongoing debate in LA, about whether street food vending should be legalized. In February, the LA City Council voted to decriminalize street vending.

“It was decriminalized because of fears of Donald Trump, the thinking going that you’re out there selling your grilled corn or your shaved ice, the cops come up to you and they not only write a citation but they take you in, they arrest you,” Gonzalez said. “And before you know it, you could be expelled if you’re here in the country illegally.”

But street food vendors — many of whom are immigrants — still operate in a gray legal area, without many regulations or protections.

The conversation about Ramírez’s story comes as “we’re having this conversation about immigration, gentrification and the underground economy,” Gonzalez said. “And what should we do for people like him? Who are in the country, who are not part of the formal economy, and what is it that the US and the city of LA should do to create a path of success for these folks?”

From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI