INSP Advent Calendar: day 20

Take a moment away from wrapping presents and preparing for Christmas to read Alan’s moving story of how The Big Issue Australia changed his life. #INSPadvent continues right up until Christmas Eve!

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

The Big Issue Australia vendor Alan

Alan Hawke, 65, sells The Big Issue in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia

I suffer from chronic depression and I use a mobility scooter to get around. One day I was on my way to hospital and I went past The Big Issue’s office and saw everyone having a BBQ, so I asked what it was all about. Before I made contact with The Big Issue, I would just stay home, staring at four walls and playing with my cat Milo. The Big Issue has made a huge difference in my life. Although I may not sell too many magazines, I’m out of the house interacting with people, unlike before. I’ve been selling the magazine for four years now.

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

My best friend gave me a green flat cap one year. It was special because of the sentimental value.

How do you plan to spend Christmas this year?

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll have a picnic on the beach with my friends.

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

Probably sitting at home with my cat looking at four walls.

Do you have a special Christmas message for your customers?

Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

What is your traditional Christmas greeting?

Merry Christmas and have a prosperous New Year!