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Our vendors: David K (The Big Issue Australia, Brisbane)

Interview by Kurt Maroske, The Big Issue Australia

I’ve been selling The Big Issue for about 14 years and first got involved after seeing another vendor selling outside a supermarket. I asked what it was all about and signed up that same day ­– it was as easy as that! That was a time in my life when things were starting to go a little bit better for me: I’d just moved out of hostels into a house and I had got custody of my daughter. The Big Issue definitely helped; I had a way to earn some money, too.

The most important thing to me is being a good dad to my daughter. I’ve had custody of her since she was two years old and brought her up by myself. Life wasn’t always easy for me, as a single dad, but I tried to give her as much love and support as I could. I’m so proud of her: she’s quite smart and talented, and I know she’s going to do great things in life. She’s going to TAFE [a technical and further education institution] now and has recently moved into a shared house with a friend. I think she has a bright future ahead of her. Since my daughter moved out, the house could have been a bit lonely, so I’ve got myself two bull terriers to keep me company.

Before selling the magazine, I worked a lot of different jobs, such as labouring and steel fixing […] I worked in a galvanising factory for a while too, but wouldn’t wish that job on anyone. I’ve also worked as a taxi driver, but after being hit by a car more than a decade ago and getting a big knock on my head, I started having seizures and was told by doctors that I wouldn’t be allowed to drive anymore. I’ve just been selling The Big Issue since then.

Photo by Barry Street

I’ve also been playing Street Soccer for years. I signed up two weeks after the program started in Brisbane, although I wasn’t sure I’d do well. I learned a lot of skills and improved really quickly though, and these days I’m there almost every week. I went for about five years without missing a single session!

Street Soccer is really important to me and it helps me to make connections as well as helping out a bit with my fitness. I’ve represented Queensland twice at the National Street Soccer Championships: once when it was in Melbourne and once in Sydney. I’m not sure if I played well or not, but I loved the opportunity to be there. It meant a lot to me to be able to represent Queensland, and to meet players and coaches from other states.

I’m generally a bit of a sports fan. I used to play rugby league growing up and I still watch the games when I can. I always try to watch the Broncos on TV! I also love swimming.

There are a lot of people who have bought the magazine from me over the years and I feel well looked after by them. There’s one regular customer in particular who has given me lots of support for about a decade and always stops to buy the magazine. He has a daughter about the same age as mine, so he knows what it’s like being a dad.

Whether you’re a regular or just someone I see now and then, I’d like to thank everyone who’s ever bought a magazine, or even just stopped to have a chat. Having the chance to meet new people means a lot to me. Thank you to all the kind customers who buy me a hot chocolate in the mornings too – it gets really cold some days!

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