For 27 years of his life, Jason Metzdorff worked as a bicycle messenger and made a decent living. But with the rise of email and fax machines and the decline of the economy, Jason found himself without a job or a place to turn.
After working so many years with consistent employment, Jason was utterly shocked when he found himself unemployed and in a dire financial situation. “It’s a scary thing for any person that spent their life living with a roof over their head [to find themselves homeless]. You feel like nothing’s going to go wrong… but then suddenly, the rope just ends and you literally fall off the cliff from society,” Jason said.
The day he found StreetWise was the day he found a way to rebuild his life again. “I decided to try StreetWise because it was my last hope to make some money. I was concerned about the rent I was paying at the hotel,” Jason said. He also discovered that StreetWise is much more than a magazine. “Not only does StreetWise hire people to sell the magazine, but they also help the individuals that sell it find housing and help them with their financing and try to overcome their personal problems.”
And despite his brief time at StreetWise, Jason is doing well because of his many years of experience working with people. “When I worked as a messenger in the past, I dealt with all kinds of customers [and] the only way you’re going to get good business and make good money is if you give them good service,” Jason said. “I relate StreetWise a lot to that job. If you stand on the street and present a good product to the customer who walks by you, eventually they’re going to come back to you. They’re going to buy your product from you because you showed them that you are a good presenter of the organization and they want to learn what StreetWise is all about.”
This job fits perfectly with Jason’s personality, seeing as he describes himself as a “people person” through and through. “I’ve always liked to talk a lot. When I was in elementary school, I would get sent to the principal’s office all the time because of my talking. But my thing is that I’m a people person [and] I like to meet people,” Jason said.
Right now, Jason’s main goal is to acquire stable housing. “StreetWise wants you to get housing and get you established in a place so you can have a roof over your head. Housing’s a priority of StreetWise,” Jason explained.
In his spare time, when he’s not selling magazines and meeting new people, Jason has a few hobbies. “When I’m all done [with work] in the evening, I always like to tape things from television onto DVD. I’m also into photography because I own a video camera and I like to shoot things that I feel are interesting to me. Then I transfer them over to tape so they can be long-lasting memories for me,” Jason said.
With his friendly personality and excitement for the job, Jason will likely make friends with the community where he vends in front of Starbucks at 4753 N. Broadway Monday – Friday and Saturday from 7 – 9:30 a.m. After each sale, he gives a big smile and is sure to say, “thank you very much for buying the magazine and I hope to see you again in the near future.” He hopes to not only build a lasting clientele, but to also build friendships.
Written by Brittany Langmeyer