How did you first come to StreetWise?
I was introduced to StreetWise about four years ago, thinking it would be a good thing for me to do because I’m disabled and a lot of time when you’re at home with nothing to do you get bored. I hurt my back a while ago and had to quit my job. Greg interviewed me here, I passed the exam and I’ve been with StreetWise ever since. Unfortunately, I’m not able to work here full-time because I can’t stand the cold in the winter like I used to.
What specific disability do you have?
When I was working for Jewel, I strained my back. The two vertebrae in the bottom of my back crossed and both side nerves that handle the legs caused my legs to go numb, so I can’t walk very well, which is why I’m in a wheelchair now.
Do you have a family?
My wife passed nine years ago so I’m by myself now. She was the love of my life and we were together 25 years. I have eight kids: two daughters and six sons. I’m very close with them. My one son always comes to see me.
What keeps you selling StreetWise?
I have a lot of fun with the people who buy StreetWise; they love to stand and talk with me. They keep telling me I’m an intelligent person and that’s why they enjoy talking to me. I tell them I appreciate that, and I’ve made a lot of new customers that way. I also like that the magazine tells readers what is happening in the Chicago area; it isn’t like most magazines that you can buy here.
Where and when do you currently sell StreetWise?
Starbucks at Roosevelt and Wabash, 6 – 11 a.m.
How did StreetWise assist you personally?
I feel that StreetWise has helped me get back to maintaining the bit of money I have and use wisely. I see where StreetWise comes in handy; I’ve introduced it to a lot of people, some people take the opportunity and others don’t. It’s a good thing for people that are homeless if only they could come to the fact that they should be working and not begging. People are coming to the point where they don’t want to give to the homeless because they think the homeless are going to drink away the money. By being a vendor, they know we are putting our money to good use or else we wouldn’t be selling them. StreetWise has also given me a routine in the morning with something to do that provides me with revenue.
What are your goals for the future?
One day I’d like to open up a business for woodcraft because I used to do a lot of woodcraft making hobbyhorses before. I would saw, varnish and paint the wood. If I could find a place to open up a shop, that would be my dream.
What keeps you motivated?
I’m 76 now and I’m going to live to 120 years old, that’s what inspires me.
By Kristen Kaczynski
StreetWise Editorial Intern