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Our vendors: Bennie (The Curbside Chronicle, Oklahoma, USA)

Before he sold The Curbside Chronicle, Bennie felt that life was passing him by due to problems with drugs. He spent some time in prison, which was “a different world”. Now he’s getting his life back on track and in the future he dreams of starting his own cleaning company.

Curbside Chronicle vendor Bennie's words of wisdom are, "We should look out for the interest of others and not just our own. I think that will carry this world much farther."

What are some of your hobbies?

I really don’t have many hobbies. For a long time, I was the person who went along with whatever. I was just here. It seemed like life was just passing me by. I felt like I was stuck because of my addiction. You get to the point that you don’t care about hobbies; the only thing you care about it getting high. Nowadays, I’m working on getting my life back. I like to read and lift weights. I like to go out and eat and treat myself every now and then. I like to go to the movies.

What are your dreams for the future?

One day to own my own business. I’d like to own my own cleaning company. My mom was a clean freak. I think I got it from her. Five months ago, I didn’t have no hope, but now I have hope. I’m happy that I’m not doing the same thing. I’m not bumping my head against the same wall. I have plans to get my CDL license to be able to drive big trucks. I might like to make a career out of that. I’m trying to think of and pursue things that will benefit me in the long run. It’s never too late. I just have a desire to do better than what I was doing. I’m trying to focus on me right now. When it’s all said and done, the only person I’m going to be lookin’ at is me.

What would you like people to know about you?

I just want people to know that I’m human just like they are. That they can talk to me and get to know me. Some people think that because of my size, I should have a “real” job. What they don’t know is that I used to work construction and injured my knee real bad. I’m not trying to run game on anyone. I’m just trying to work hard and move forward in life. Just get to know me before you pass a judgment on me. I’m pretty sure all of us have some skeletons in our closet that we aren’t too proud of. I definitely do. But we are all capable of change.

Do you have any words of wisdom?

We should look out for the interest of others and not just our own. I think that will carry this world much farther.

What was prison like?

Real. One of the guys in my block killed himself. One morning he started giving all his stuff away. The next day, they found him dead in his cell… Everything is valuable in prison. A person will fight over a bag of chips. What we take for granted out here is valuable in prison. I’ve seen a lot of guys get beat up on canteen day over some snacks.

There’s more drugs in prison than there is on the streets. Anything you want to get in prison, you can get it. It just costs way more. And the guards are the ones bringing the drugs in. The inmates can’t bring them in. It’s a profitable business. What might cost you $3 on the streets costs you $75 in prison. It’s a different world.

We share vendors’ stories every Wednesday. Check out more here.

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