Being a Big Issue Vendor we are sometimes asked if we would like to do a Vendor Profile to be published in an magazine. I of course said yes and the magazine came out. A big hit that one. Ha ha
I realised there's a lot of people that don't buy my magazines but do read my blog so I asked permission if I could copy it and post it here.
I was asked to meet a very lovely Judy Johnson and after talking (interview) to me she wrote my story. Here's it.
If the old adage 'manners maketh the man' is correct, then Grant is the finished article. Once nicknamed 'The Polite Guy' by a customer, the moniker has stuck- and it suits him. Ever gracious to all who walk by, Grant credits his father with teaching him that respect and good manners will take you a long way in life.
Grant was also raised to have a strong work ethic. Somewhat ironically, this plunged him into a dark depression after a terrible fall two years ago stopped him from working. “I believed a man must support his family, and so hit rock bottom when I couldn't work,' Grant says. “I had everything except the picket fence- a good job, a wife, kids, mortgage and even a dog- but that all changed after the accident.”
Grant spent nine months in and out of hospital, dependent and in pain. He tried going back to his job as head cook at a large franchised restaurant, but eventually had to admit his body could no longer handle the work. “The fall had broken my body and my spirit- I felt angry and worthless,” he says.
After a few nights sleeping rough in the city, he approached a vendor and found out how to get involved with The Big Issue. Five months later he was named Vendor of the Year by the Brisbane office, not only for outstanding sales but also for his initiative and commitment. “I felt like I had achieved something and was back on top of things,” he explains. It seems that his dad had been right, after all, about the work ethic and the manners.
These days, Grant is still rebuilding his life. He sells The Big Issue because of the people who buy it. “It was the way people spoke to me as an equal when I first started selling the magazine that built my confidence. I'm making friends every day and Dad always said you can judge a person's wealth by their friends.”
Grant works six days a week, and chooses not to go on the disability pension. He is able to stand for long periods of time, but can't sit for too long. Now that his athletic days of football and boxing are behind him, Grant enjoys thousand-piece jigsaw puzzles for the quiet and solitude, and likes a social drink with company.
If the hardest part of falling down is getting up, then Grant has succeeded. So if you pass him on the street and see him smiling with those dazzling blue eyes, be sure to say “hi”, “please and “thank you” when buying a magazine. As his dad says, manners don't cost anything, but they show what kind of person you are.
This was written by Judy Johnson on behalf of The Big Issue.
This was published in the 2-15 March 2010 issue.
I'd like to thank The Big Issue for letting me post my own story on my blog.
I hope you all have a great day.
Grant the Polite Guy.