Vendor moments 2017: “I felt like Elvis when he visited the White House”

Jean-Claude Nault, 39, is a L’Itinéraire vendor in Montréal, Canada

During the municipal election campaign, in September, I did an interview, along with two other vendors, with the mayor of Montréal, Denis Coderre and the head of the opposition party, Valerie Plante. This is my most memorable moment of 2017. It was the first time I had ever been to the mayor’s office. I felt like Elvis Presley when he visited Richard Nixon at the White House. It was quite an honour for me! I was pleased to learn that low-cost housing was an important issue for both candidates.

Also, I was really touched by the present the mayor gave me: a Montréal Expos baseball cap. The team was sold and left the city in 2004. Like the mayor I would like to see the return of a professional baseball team in Montréal.

I was invited to perform at  L’Itinéraire’s Christmas party last year and I sang with real musicians from the group L’Itinérock (the band members were part of the staff). I am an Elvis impersonator and I sang ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’, and ‘Suspicious Minds’.

My goal for the coming year is to be admitted to the Québec Artists Union as an impersonator and actor.

I also faced some challenges this year. The death of my friend and co-vendor  Élisabèthe at 61 years-old. She was in the process of having a sex-change operation to become a woman. I tried to encourage her, as her family had rejected her. I went to a service where she was commemorated along with a hundred other people whose remains were never claimed. I cried a lot.

I wish all the vendors of the world the courage to not get discouraged. The courage to improve your life. I wish that all people would take each other by the hand.

Je vous souhaite à tous et à toutes un très Joyeux Noël et une Bonne année 2018!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2018!