BRADENTON, Fla. — A Florida man offered a panhandler a job instead of money Sunday. After the panhandler rejected the offer to do yardwork for $15 an hour, Ryan Bray, of Bradenton, went home made his own sign, and returned to the intersection. Bray then shadowed the panhandler for the next three hours, the Bradenton Herald reported.
"I offered him $15 an hour to do yard work for me and he refused. If we as a community stop paying them, they will leave our neighborhood!" Bray's sign read.
Bray said he thought he was doing the man a favor by getting him off the streets. The panhandler had not been receptive to the offer, cursing and kicking Bray's Jeep, WTVT reported.
"(He) started getting belligerent," Bray told the television station.
The panhandler, identified by Bradenton police as Terry Walker, complained that "another man was following him," the Herald reported. Walker added that he was exercising his constitutional rights of freedom of speech by asking for money.
Those same rights of expression belong to Bray, police told Walker.
Bray said he had better things to do on Sunday, but he made his point.
"I shut down his panhandling business for three hours," Bray told the Herald. "He didn't get a dime.
“It’s not the way I wanted to spend my Sunday,” Bray told the newspaper. “I care about our homeless veterans and such but these people yell profanities at you if don’t give them money. So the only way to get them to leave is people need to stop giving them money. We’re tired of it.”
On Monday, Bray continued to shadow as a panhandler worked the Bradenton intersection, even scoring a few dollars, WTVT reported.
"You can't shut me down, brother," the man told Bray, according to the television station.
The Bradenton City Council is expected to address panhandling at its July 24 meeting, WTVT reported.
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