- Associated Press - Sunday, March 1, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Tyler Cartwright doesn’t mind people giving him the finger when he’s spinning signs for local businesses.

That reaction - although uncommon - isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“When that happens, I know I’ve won,” Cartwright said. “We want people to read the sign. So if they’re being rude, they’re at least reading what I’m holding.”

The 20-year-old Martinez native has a passion for being a human billboard, and he takes a job some snicker at seriously. He got his latest gig at AArow Sign Spinners through videos posted online.

“AArow saw my sign-spinning videos on YouTube and Instagram and asked me to join their company,” Cartwright said. “It’s truly a dream come true.”

Sign-spinning is more than a decade old and is gaining popularity, AArow CEO Max Durovic said.

“Not only is it the perfect advertising medium for 21st-century businesses, but we look at it as a sport,” Durovic said. “We’re physically training all the time in hopes of perfecting what we do. There’s no question this advertising technique is successful.”

Cartwright began sign-spinning for Little Caesars in 2012, dancing and waving on Furys Ferry Road. Eventually, he came to this realization: “I was pretty good.”

For Cartwright, sign-spinning isn’t about fame or fortune. Instead, it’s about bringing a smile to a stranger’s face.

Once, while spinning a sign for Great Clips, a motorist pulled over and thanked Cartwright.

“He said, ‘I was having a rough day, but you made it better,’ ” Cartwright said.

Javier Washington was having a rough day Thursday, as 27 mph gusts restricted him from spinning his Little Caesars board that read “Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo $5.” Still, he grabbed an orange jacket, a red long-sleeve shirt and held on.

“Instead of spinning like I usually do, I’m just trying to keep a tight grip on the sign today,” Washington said. “It’s cold, but that doesn’t mean we stop advertising.”

During summer, Washington will plug music into his left ear and patrol the corner of Washington Road and Alexander Drive for up to four hours. His go-to band is Linkin Park, motivated by songs Breaking the Habit, Crawling and Somewhere I Belong.

“When I’m shaking the Little Caesar board, I just feel free,” Washington said. “Plus, wherever I go, people know me as the shake-a-board guy from Little Caesars.”

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , https://www.augustachronicle.com

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