OMAHA, NE (KETV) — Dueling signs dot the intersection of Saddle Creek Road and Cuming Street in Omaha, Nebraska. The busy crossing is a popular place for panhandlers, but there’s a new face on one of the corners.
Charles Logan has taken to holding a poster board with the words “Get a job. Get a job.”
Logan, who said he is retired from the military, explained he carries the sign in his car. When he see panhandlers around town, he often stops to stand on the corner with them.
His motivation: seeing his own son panhandling.
“That’s really what 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.
Though some of the panhandlers argued it’s not so simple.
“He has a sign that says, ‘get a job’, but he doesn’t know people’s struggles,” Charles Smith, one of the panhandlers said.
Smith said he is a single father, trying to pay rent and facing eviction from his apartment as he waits on a disability check.
“We all go through our personal struggles. Whether it be financial, physical, mental, emotional, and he doesn’t understand that,” Smith said.
Another panhandler at the intersection, Aaron Hansen, spoke of his own struggles with drug addiction. Hansen recently got out of jail and is homeless.
“I’m a college graduate. I was raised by very, very respectable parents. I’m a decent person, you know?” Hansen said, “It’s just a temporary thing, till I get back on my feet.”
Logan said he believes there are services that can help these panhandlers with housing and food. However, when asked why he would not go to a local homeless shelter for a meal, Hansen said there are “politics” at shelters. He said he has utilized services that help the homeless in the past, but Tuesday, he decided to panhandle for a meal.
No matter your opinion, Logan’s sign is drawing notice. Some support it, honking and exclaiming praise from their vehicles.
Though others, have acted out. According to police reports, in the month of August, a panhandler threw a drink at Logan. Another allegedly threatened him with a knife. On Tuesday, police responded to Saddle Creek and Cuming after Logan reported a panhandler sprayed him with mace.
Charles Smith saw that altercation. While he doesn’t agree with Logan’s sign, Smith said he doesn’t condone violence.
“Everyone has the right to their own opinion,” Smith said, “If he wants to say ‘get a job’, that’s his opinion.”
As for Logan, he’s not going anywhere. In response to panhandlers who call their efforts a job, Logan said:
“Well, this is my job. To tell them to get a job….This is what I believe. I believe that America needs to get back to working.”
The panhandlers had no intention of giving up either. Both sides heading back to their corners, for a day’s work.