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Viral photo shows Iowa man ‘shaming’ panhandlers who declined job offer

Posted at 1:56 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 13:58:47-05

MUSCATINE, Iowa -- An Iowa man who offered two panhandlers a job is shown in a viral photo holding a sign that reads "Don't give money" after they apparently declined the offer.

Mike Pothoff told WQAD he sees the two boys panhandling in Muscatine several times a week. Because he felt bad for them, he offered them a job at his business.

"I said, 'You're hired,' and they said, 'We're not from around here.'  I said, 'Well, you're here,' and then they just smirked and turned around," Pothoff said.

Pothoff again saw the boys panhandling again over the weekend, so he made a sign of his own.

A photo shared on Facebook shows Pothoff standing on the corner holding a sign that reads: "Offered these guys a job, they said no, don't give them money."

Pothoff says he doesn't have a problem with panhandlers, but he wants to make sure those asking for help really need it.

"There's a lot of women and kids that aren't going to have a lot for Christmas - might not have anything - and it upsets me that we have younger kids, or people who can work, that are doing that," said Pothoff.

It's not the first time Pothoff says he has offered a job to panhandlers, only to have them turn the offer down.  He says it won't be the last time, either.

"If they're going to stand out there and hold a sign and ask for money and say they're homeless, I can hold a sign out there saying I offered these guys a job, don't give them money."

Mike says the job offer is still on the table for the boys.