Retiree, panhandler's dueling signs stir debate over work

Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 17:31:17-04

OMAHA, NE (KETV/CNN) - At a busy intersection in Omaha, NE, drivers are accustomed to seeing people begging for money. But there's a new face on one of the corners. He's a retired military man, and he's fed up with panhandlers.

Some people like his message while others find it offensive.  They are standing across the street from one another with dueling signs. "If you want money, go get a job and work for it,” Charles Logan says.

"He has a sign that says, get a job, but he doesn't know people's struggles," panhandler Charles Smith responds.

You can find Logan wherever there are panhandlers. His action spurred after seeing his own son asking for money on the street. "That is what really hurt me because I know that he didn't have to do that. And a lot of people out here don't have to do it,” Logan said.

Panhandler Charles Smith says it's not so simple. Smith is a single father. He says he's facing eviction from his apartment and trying to pay rent before his disability check arrives. "We all go through our personal struggles whether it be financial, physical, mental, emotional. He doesn't understand that,” Smith said. 

Aaron Hansen struggles with drug addiction and says he just got out of jail. "I'm a college graduate. I was raised by very respectable parents. I'm a decent person. It's just a temporary thing until I get back on my feet,” Hansen said. 

No matter your opinion, Logan's sign is drawing notice, both good and bad. "That's one of the best signs there is out there. I work right across the street," one man said. 

According to police reports, in the month of August a panhandler through a drink at Logan, and another threatened him with a knife. And on Tuesday someone sprayed him with mace. 

Even so, Logan says he's not going anywhere.  "That's what America is built off of people that work, not people that beg," Logan said. 

The panhandlers don't plan on moving either. So both sides are going back to their corners after a day's work.

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