Man confronted by panhandler who rejected offer for work

A Manatee County man is taking a stand after offering a panhandler a job - and then being rejected.

FOX 13's Kimberly Kuizon joined Ryan Bray, of Bray Remodeling, as he stood at the intersection of 75th Street W and Manatee Avenue W, holding a sign to warn drivers not to give panhandlers cash. During the interview, the transient man - identified by Bray as the one who rejected his offer for help - approached and confronted Bray, claiming he did nothing wrong.

Bray, who works for his family's remodeling business, said he has seen the same group of panhandlers at the intersection before and wanted to do more than hand out a temporary solution, so he offered one of the men a job: $15 an hour to do yard work, plus help to get off the streets.

"He reached his arms inside my vehicle, resting them and said, 'Hey, do you have any money?' I said, 'No, but I have one better for you..." He said, 'Absolutely not.' Started getting belligerent and cursing," he said.

Bray said the panhandler kicked his Jeep and told him to leave.

That's when Bray decided to warn others. He believes if drivers stop handing cash through their cracked windows, panhandlers will leave.

"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 wrote on a piece of poster board.

"I can't have my 13-year-old daughter and my wife driving with their windows up and being berated the entire time if they don't get money," he said.

Monday afternoon, the man used foul language as Bray stood near. He still managed to get a dollar or two.

"You can't shut me down, brother," the man said.

The man who approached Bray did not want to be identified. He said he was not doing anything wrong by asking for help from drivers at the intersection.

Turning Points executive director Adell Erozer said some make a living off this.

"It's hard to tell the difference between someone who is really homeless and somebody who is out there just panhandling," she said.

She said if you want to help, give money directly to organizations helping the homeless and not to those on the street.

"The best thing to do if we all really want to get rid of panhandlers is to don't give to panhandlers," she said.

Bray said he will hold his sign to encourage panhandlers and the community to look for a hand up, not a handout.

The Bradenton City Council is expected to bring up the topic of panhandling on July 24.