The next time you’re northbound on Bardstown Road near Woodbourne, be sure to give a friendly wave to Eddie Rainbolt. He is 48 years old, of Cherokee descent, and is studying computer security at ITT.
For 40 hours each week, Rainbolt listens to his iPod while carrying a cash for gold sign in front of a small jewelry store in the 2300 block of Bardstown Road. Rainbolt says the store owner is kind to him, flexible, and pays him $10 per hour to display the sign while pacing or standing on the sidewalk near the store. He works from 10 to 6 every day except Wednesday and Sunday, taking two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch break.
He’s been carrying a sign for the past two years, starting at $8 per hour and getting an annual $1 raise.
When asked how his legs hold up to the rigors of standing or pacing, Rainbolt said that he seeks relief by rubbing his feet with pumice stone, or he sprinkles baby powder into his shoes. He has no health insurance.
Rainbolt moved to Kentucky from Oklahoma for a marriage that has now ended in divorce. He said he loves Louisville and wants to stay, noting that there are “quite a few” Native Americans in the area. Rainbolt is authenticating his Native American heritage through a tedious process of locating proper documentation.
He hopes to launch a career working with computers and give up sign carrying for good. For now, pacing the sidewalk listening to music earns him enough money for food and rent.
He does not own any gold.