Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Columbia protects citizens from homeless legless hubcap cleaner

From The State newspaper:

By John Monk

Albert Witherspoon of Columbia has no legs.

He has no home.

But Witherspoon — who lives, eats and sleeps out of a beat-up wheelchair — does have a police citation that could cost him $762.50 if he is found guilty of violating a city ordinance that requires a person to have a license to operate a business.

Witherspoon’s “business”?

Cleaning car hubcaps in the Five Points shopping area to get money.

“I like to work for my money. I don’t like to get no dern handouts,” said Witherspoon, 41, from whose wheelchair hang a spray bottle and a cloth to clean hubcaps.
Dennis Hiltner, president of the Five Points Association and owner of that area’s Gourmet Shop, said Witherspoon is part of a widespread problem affecting merchants and customers alike. Area homeless seeking money frighten shoppers and make them uncomfortable, he said.

“They are bad for business,” Hiltner said, adding Witherspoon’s offers to clean people’s hubcaps for money are intimidating to some people.

Yeah, he's a menacing dude:


(photo by Sean Rayford for The State)


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