INSP Advent Calendar: day 14

Count down to Christmas with #INSPadvent! In today’s window, we meet one of Denver VOICE’s top vendors.

Donate to back INSP’s work supporting street papers and their vendors here.

Denver Voice vendor Brian

Brian Augustine, 54, Denver, Colorado, USA

Due to a felony background and an injury, Brian had a difficult time finding work and found himself experiencing homelessness. He discovered the Denver VOICE after meeting another vendor, and immediately seized upon the opportunity. Now Brian is able to rent a room with income he makes selling the VOICE. He has sold the paper since 2010. He is one of the paper’s top vendors, and became a member of its board of directors a year ago.

What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

It would have to be a book I received from my mom when I was 10. It was ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. I got that and a cap gun. That book sparked a desire to read in me. It taught me the generosity of Christmas, and it’s a memory I’ve cherished.

Brian is in the Christmas spirit

How do you plan to spend Christmas this year?

I plan to spend Christmas with friends, one of whom I met when she became a regular customer of mine. She invites me to her house every year. We eat dinner together, open presents, and always have great conversations. I always bring wine for dinner, and if I have an oven, I bake my special holiday cookies, which have oatmeal, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and a secret ingredient.

If you did not sell a street paper, how do you think you might be spending Christmas this year?

Probably waiting in line for a meal. There’s no way I’d be able to afford my apartment without the VOICE.

Do you have a special Christmas message for your customers?

The gifts and cards my customers give me are always special, and make for the best Christmas mornings. I hope everyone spends every day like it’s Christmas.

What is a traditional Christmas greeting in your area?

Have a wonderful holiday!

Read Brian’s tribute to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas here!