Our Vendors 

Working with a disability any way he can

Wed, Jul 20, 2011

Jim LoBianco

StreetWise vendor Arthur Tedei has an unmistakable silhouette: it’s not often that people attach gumball dispensers to their electric wheelchairs. “Adults love it. If I stop where a bunch of kids are, I have to sit there for 15-20 minutes, because they keep buying gumballs from me. I have extra reinforcement on the front of the chair to support the extra weight. I carry my [magazines] up front, my battery charger in back. I come self-contained.”

Arthur speaks with a weak, gravely voice and a self-deprecating sense of humor while conveying a sense of kindness that’s made him a community staple in Evanston.

Arthur Tedei

Though he receives Medicare and public aid, Arthur isn’t content to live an idle life: he’s out all day, every day, because he’s a people person. “I don’t let my disability handicap me or get in my way.” When he backs up his wheelchair, he imitates the warning sound of large construction vehicles and garbage trucks: “Beep, beep, beep…” Arthur considers many of his customers to be friends. After buying his copies of StreetWise, he likes to head to the Billy Goat at 309 W. Washington for a meal. He enjoys hanging out with the owner, whom he’s known for over 20 years. “They’ve been real good to me,” he says.

“I sometimes get more help on the street than I do in my apartment,” he says. (Arthur lives in assisted care.) When he gets home, he’s still very much the socializer—he keeps his door open in case anyone wants to stop by for a chat or get something off their chest.

Arthur’s been with StreetWise for over 11 years. Arthur likes his job and the independence and friends that come with it, and plans to continue selling the magazine as long as he’s physically able to support himself.

When he’s not selling StreetWise, Arthur loves to watch movies. He was recently excited about a Rocky marathon on television that started first thing in the morning. He also likes anything starring John Wayne.

To his customers he’d like to say, “Thank you for the many years you have been buying StreetWise from me, and thank you for not letting my disability get in the way of coming up and talking to me.”

Jim LoBianco
StreetWise Executive Director

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