Radomir, 28, sells Surprise at Basel train station in Switzerland. He’s always grappled with life and has stood out since childhood as a result of being different to others. This spirit continues in his adult life and even extends into his work as a Surprise vendor, where he delights customers with his unconventional sales methods that include juggling and dancing.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Seven Surprise vendors chipped in with their choices.
Surprise vendor Ali Nur Mohammed was badly injured in an attack carried out by Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. He lost his right leg in the attack and the prosthetic limb that he has worn ever since causes him chronic pain. After reading about him in an issue of Surprise, Ronnie Schenkein set up a fund for Mohammed. This is what happened when the two met for the first time.
What would you do if you had lived in a country for over a decade and were then given the order to leave? For ¬Tareq Islami, this situation became a reality in late 2018 when he received a removal order from the Swiss authorities. Here, Tareq talks about the life he has built in Switzerland, and how the uncertainty of living with the threat of deportation has been lessened by the support that they have received from friends and colleagues in Basel.
In 2013, Heiko lost his job, his marriage and his apartment. He lived under a bridge for two years. Just as he was getting help, his daughter died and he turned to drink, but he has managed to turn things around again. Now he is a Surprise vendor, and a city tour guide.
Andreas has worked in the stock exchange and even transported works of art with a revolver at his side. He shares his life lessons from the top to hitting rock bottom.