Standing in medians or on street corners with business signs in hand and smiles on their faces, many of us have seen sign spinners in cities all across the U.S.
A Jacksonville disabled veteran says it’s a job he loves. But he recently came across a problem that has slowed down his ability to twirl signs to his own funky beat.
“Yesterday I actually got cited by code enforcement,” said Jeff Cappalletti who’s also known as the “Sign Guy.” “They said its an advertising sign and it’s against the code basically.”
There is a section of a St. Johns County ordinance that prohibits “Sign Walkers.” Cappelletti says he was a sign spinner in Jacksonville for three years but recently had to move St. Johns County. He assumed he would be able to continue doing a job that suits him well.
James Stewart with AAA Global Services employs Capelletti and other people who are disabled or find it difficult to enter into the work force.
He says he was shocked and disappointed after being contacted by the St. Johns County Code Enforcement office about the Prohibited Signs ordinance. So Stewart decided to take to the streets.
Dressed in a bright yellow chicken costume accompanied by a man in a green gumby suit and other sign guys, Stewart stood on the corner of 321 and US 1 in St. Johns County Friday afternoon, in protest.
“You can’t forget about the little guy who has served his country who has limited economic opportunity as far as employment,” said Stewart. “What do you say about him? What would you do if you were him?”
Cappelletti says he spent some time in the Navy and now has serious back problems. His doctors have given him a label he’s not comfortable with accepting. Cappelletti is disabled.
“I don’t want to just get a hand out from social security,” said Cappalletti. “I don’t want to just sit around and do nothing.”
The “Sign Guy” has learned there aren’t many jobs out there for disabled veterans but considers himself a part of the lucky few.
“I found out that I am good at sign spinning and people like me,” said Cappalletti.
The Prohibited Sign ordinance lists “sign walkers” as a violation. But the “Sign Guy” says he’s much more than that.
“I am not a walker I am a sign entertainer,” said Cappalletti. “Big difference!”
He was cited Thursday and says he could have received a $118 fine which would be a huge blow on his limited income.
FCN reached out to the Manager of the St. Johns County Code Enforcement, James Acosta and as of air time have not heard back.