Sunday, November 3, 2013


I am trying very hard to not put the wrong message across. It is true, I have hit some hard times, personal and business, which has given me some setback. I have found myself depressed and feel I need to get away for a couple of weeks to be on my own and take time out for myself.

I do want to make this very clear to everyone and especially the people I have helped that read my blog, I am not giving up, I am not quitting, I just feel burnt out and I am taking a short break. I am going to Sydney to get away from things, and I will have my phone off as I feel that I need to just find myself again.

I have given and done so much to help people, and I know people will want to call or text, and I am asking them now not to. I need time for me.

I hate putting it like this, but I feel I am wanting and needing this time for myself.

I will be back brighter, even bigger smile, and I hope you all have a good day. I am not going to lie, if you have an emergency please do call as I will always be there to help.

Please note the Coorparoo "Having a Go Coffee" shop will be open, please come and get a coffee.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Monday, October 21, 2013

A quick post

I was walking through the city this morning and it felt so good, I must say I felt like I was home because of when I was homeless, but I must also say it felt great to remember the past because in some way I felt very proud in myself for getting on my feet and doing what I do.

A guy stopped me walking past BOQ Building and said how he heard about me on the radio and started reading my blog and wanted to say “Hi”. As good as it felt I was also guilty because I started thinking how I don’t write on here as much as what I did as a homeless person.

You see I started thinking of all the things that I can do to help that many more as I know what homeless are going through. I even started thinking that even though my new business “Having a Go Coffee” at Coorparoo is helping people, it’s not enough. So I’m proud to say I’m also working on many new projects at the same time. I won’t say what yet because I’m still working them out. But I will say, each one of my projects will help people on their feet in some way or I wouldn’t put it together.

I have in the past posted on Facebook that the shop in Coorparoo is in fear of closing because it didn’t get enough customers. Well whatever I did was the trick because people came from everywhere and the sales doubled overnight. Thank you for that, it means I can now employ more people after helping them on their feet. There’s a famous saying and that’s “the money has to go into the cash register before money can go out”. Also on a great note the Suspended Coffee’s is in the plus of 28 for the first time which means we can help that many more people. AWESOME.

I have to say I feel like I’m doing something really great knowing I’m helping so many people. Really please everyone that reads this post go out and do just one thing to help someone and see how you feel making a small or big difference to someone you don’t know. I hope you’ll feel like I do and that’s your walking on air and being proud.

I was just thinking of writing a list of all the great things I’ve done to help people in the last 2 weeks, but to be honest just once in a while I want to keep things for just me to know. I will say I’ve helped two people by paying for plane tickets to return home to their families, clothes for people that needed them, furnisher and much more. I would never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do.

I hope you all have a great day and thank you for reading my blog.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy


Monday, October 7, 2013

2 Down 48 to go

First of all I was successful with a family, house and a great job when I had an accident on a stairwell and ended up in hospital for 9 months with multiple injuries and leaving with a back brace.
Losing everything I was homeless for 1 ½ years of which the last 6 months of that I started making a huge difference in people’s lives. You see as a Big Issue vendor (which I became vendor of the year) I had a lot of customers or people that would say “Hi” all the time. One day I started asking everyone I knew if they would like to donate clothes they didn’t want anymore to me to give to a Homeless Centre to give to homeless for free.  I got two very full station wagons full of clothes to donate.
Two months later I did the same thing except this time I asked for food for a BBQ as well, you see I started telling all the homeless and people I knew to come to a park and collect free BBQ food, clothes, blankets, toiletries and much more. 400 turned up which excited me and I continue to do these BBQ’s which became bigger, between 400-1,000 people getting help every two months going to Musgrave Park, Caboolture, Ipswich and Wynnum. But the best thing was the very first two BBQ’s I done while homeless myself.
I would like to add that these BBQ’s are not to just give free food and things, we have 100’s of volunteers there trying to talk to these people in a means of helping them on their feet. I know 100’s of homeless and people in need have turned up and left to go straight into accommodations and employment. There’s no better feeling.
I have and always will be proud with what I do with my BBQ’s but I have taken it one step further with a new project called “Having a Go Coffee” which I use my contacts to help homeless or people in need on their feet and then give them training and employment working. This will give them a head start in hospitality and makes them part of society and participating in a world at which they only used to look from the outside. I can already see the difference in the first people I employed. The fact that someone believes in them has given them confidence and I can see their hope for the future. I’m putting together 50 locations throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The way I look at it, If I help and employ 8-10 people per location then it’ll help 400-500 homeless and people in need to have that first or second chance at life.
I have 2 locations and already working on my 3rd and 4th as I write this now. My plan is to get the 50 locations by July next year. I know it’s a big task but I know I say a famous saying to people I’m trying to help, “There’s only two things we can’t do and that’s walk on water, but I heard someone did and we can’t find the second thing”
If you would like to donate towards this great project please do as I need all the help I can get.
Grant Richards
BOQ Bank
BSB 124-001
ACC 21730452
Thank you
Grant Richards
Grant the Polite Guy

Friday, August 30, 2013

Having a Go Coffee

I’m sitting here feeling very proud of myself right now. You see it was only about 3 years ago I was homeless and trying to get on my feet, in some way get my life back in order or normal so to speak. Just now I’ve been thinking of all the good things I’ve done. I have helped so many people one on one and through my homeless BBQ’s which helps so many. I have seen people not just get back on their feet but really amaze me as to how much. Some going back to families which to me is priceless knowing I had a part in it.

But I have to say I’ve helped many that have “crashed and burned” so to speak which means I have helped them and in time will need to help again, I guess it’s about when their ready or I didn’t have the right contacts or help.

For a long time now I’ve been putting together homeless BBQ’s every 2 months is good and I think I’m helping a lot of people, but I also thought that helping people to do a complete circle so to speak is better, I have wrote before about putting coffee shops/carts together. Well I’m proud to say I have opened my first one. “Having a Go Coffee” at 262 Old Cleveland Rd Coorparoo.

We have our Grand Opening tomorrow the 31st of August from 8:30am. This shop is the first of 50 in Brisbane that’s going to be employing only people from homelessness or hardship. The way it’s going to work is I help them with whatever they need to get on their feet and give training and employment. For some even traineeships. This is very exciting because it’s their first or second chance at life again.

I’ve set this up so that every cup sold 20cents goes towards Signal Flare which is the charity that we do the Homeless BBQ’s. So this means I’ll be helping people to get on their feet and every time they make a coffee they are helping others at the BBQ’s. I have to say this inspires me because I love the idea of helping people and later they help others as well.

Now that’s all great with what I’ve put together, but all the stores will do Suspended Coffee’s or Suspended Coffee & Muffin’s which means when people come into the store you can also buy a coffee or coffee and muffin for a homeless or person in need. That’s awesome.

Right now I’m thinking of some of the people I’ve meet when I was homeless and since. Most saying positive things and how I can get back on my feet, and then there’s the umm (thinking of nice way to put it) jerks that have spat on me, yelled abuse “Get a job you bum” e.g. I really wish both sides could see me now. I wasn’t a bum I just was hitting hard times with injuries and things.

I have such a new outlook on life and I hope I can inspire and helpers to as well.

Please come to the newest coffee shop and check it out.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Exciting Times

I’ll tell you now I’m more excited now than ever about things with helping homeless and people in need. I done a BBQ for the homeless and people in need at Wynnum, now we didn’t get a great number of people but I did take a step back and noticed all the new people that had come to help. New charity groups came by the bus loads.

To be honest I have never worked so little putting the event together. I would very much like to thank in a huge way Pastor Lui and crew, The Kotahi Aroha crew and The Tautoko Crew for all they done.

Now one couple really went far and beyond and that’s Katey Keating-McKee and her great husband. But I’m going to write a post on this couple later (Next Post) in full detail because there awesome.

After doing the BBQ event at Wynnum Pastor Lui is now going to be doing these BBQ’s once a month at Wynnum and helping people on a regular basis. I’m going to help him anyway I can and be proud that I started something great out that way. If you want to help with this please contact me and I’ll be very happy to pass on details.


I HAVE DONE!!! I HAVE DONE IT!!! Well I have almost done it. Ha-ha. You see I posted here and sent out a lot of emails to get my first coffee cart. I raised enough to buy that cart and a lot of things I needed for it to be ready for operation. If you remember I am going to be helping people to get on their feet personally and then give them all the training needed, then given full time employment working the coffee cart. Plus 20cents from every coffee was going towards (Signal Flare) the homeless BBQ’s I do. So in fact I would be helping people on their feet and with just going to work and making coffee would in turn be helping others in the future. Awesome.

Everything was going great except I couldn’t get a lease for the cart in the city due to the fact my new business had no experience. Now one thing that keeps me going sometimes is the fact that I was homeless so I know what homeless and people in need are going through and I’ve achieved so much because of heart and the fact I just don’t give up.

Now sometimes I think some things are meant to be and happen for a reason, I just don’t understand why sometimes. Ha-ha. But this was meant to be because I just got approved for a shop lease which I can turn into a coffee shop. But the best part is it already has a nice looking counter and sink and things out back. It was a café/restaurant before. All I need to do is bring most of the stuff I was using on the coffee cart and put into the shop and away I go. Yes I’ll need tables, chairs, signs and a lot more, but I can do this. But here’s the best part, it’ll help maybe 12 full time staff which means I’ll be able to help at least 12 people to get on their feet, training and give an opportunity too.

Does anyone know where I can get free or cheap good second hand tables and chairs? I’m sure there’s going to be a few things needed but that’s the next thing on my list.

To make this even more helpful for homeless I’m going to be doing the “Suspended Coffee” which means people who have extra money can come and buy a coffee and it is put on hold and given to a homeless person.

Now to people reading this it may not seem like much, but to the 12 people it’ll be huge. I really wish you all could see my smile right now because I’m so happy just to be writing this. WOO HOO. Yeah.

I get the keys on Monday 19th of August and having a Grand Opening on Saturday 24th of August from 9am. So please add this date and come and celebrate with me for the opening of the first store.


I want to write about a guy I have been helping along the way for a few years now, James (not his real name) has been homeless for at least 3½ years that I know of. I have seen him over time become more confident in himself to the fact I am proud of him. This morning he called me and we spoke for about an hour on the phone ( I called him back so it didn’t cost him) but I have some very exciting news. James has been in touch with his family and is ready to go home and in a way start fresh.

Now I must say I was trying hard to hold back the excitement while talking to him. He told me he had to pay a debt with getting Methadone at a chemist which he insisted on paying, but asked if I could pay for a ticket for him to go back home to his family. For me this is a huge breakthrough because I have talked about him doing this time and time again. YES now he wants too. I’m so excited right now. I can’t tell you how many “Pie’s and Cokes” I bought while talking about how everything okay to go home.

But here’s the thing. I normally pay for these things myself out of my own pocket but I can’t right now because I’m pouring all the money I can into getting the coffee shop (which is not enough) up and going to help many more people. So in saying that I’d like to know who is willing to pay for a guy to go back home after at least 3½ years  of being on the streets? It would be a plane fare to Sydney and enough money to pay for train and back to the airport and enough for drinks and of course a meal. $170 maybe.

As I said I normally pay for this myself so if anyone wants to think of this as loan then I will pay them back for this after I have setup the coffee shop.

To help please email me on

I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.

Grant Richards

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Great Morning

Now I must say I have sat here at least 5 times to write here and something has always come up from getting a calls to help people to new news about the BIG BBQ event with the Guinness World Record.

But after today I thought I had to write because it may help others.

A lot of people don’t know but I don’t work for Buffed anymore. But that’s okay because I started thinking I’m better helping people when I’m in the streets. It’s where I talk to people on more of their level because I’m selling the Big Issue again. So of course if you want to buy a Big Issue magazine please come see me at Post Office Square.

But right now I want to write about my second day as a Big Issue Vendor. I went into the city early to just talk to homeless because to be honest just having someone listening to them is a huge thing for them. Well there I was talking to 3 people when one of them sort of pulled me aside and asked if I could talk to her later. I told her I would be around the Post Office Square all day.

Later she turned up and started talking about how to get help if she was on the streets. (Lots of talk happened) She ran away from home because she was grounded by her parents. She had a bad time on the streets over the few weeks she was homeless, although at first she thought it would be cool. But as time went on she didn’t want to contact her parents because of fear because she left home.

I offered to talk to them for her and as you can imagine her parents were worried. So worried that her mum took time off work to spend her days looking for her.

The young girl was worried about punishment because of leaving, when all her parents wanted was her safe and home.  

I won’t make this long but I will say I was embarrassed when the 15-16yr girl thanked me and kissed me on the cheek while the doors closed on the train for her to go home, to be honest I didn’t know which one felt better. Her because she could go back home and everything was okay or me because I helped make it happen. I just wish her and her family all the best. I will call in a few days just to say hi and see how things are going.

I know that people have asked me to name people I write about.  Are you kidding? Sometimes people hit hard times and at a low point in life and the last thing they need is someone saying I read about what happened to you a year ago or whatever the time frame is.

Now my morning got better. Remember I was just selling my Big Issue magazines. A guy came up to me as he had done thousands of times but this time it was different, I knew this guy well because when I was homeless he was too, the difference was he still was homeless and I guess for him he wasn’t ready to get on his feet. Now I want to point out that this guy had been homeless for the last 3 ½ years that I knew about.

He told me, he had been talking to his mum and how he’s an adult now and it was “time to get on me feet” but he was getting Methadone because of strong drug use. He’s going to organize to get his Methadone in Sydney and after talking to him I’m going pay his ticket to go home where his family want to help him to get back on his feet.

This is a long time coming to help this guy. But really it was worth waiting for him to want to get on his feet before acting because if I did something sooner it would have been pushing him into something he didn’t want to do. Waste of resources if someone doesn’t want the help.

This all happened before 10am. What a morning. WooHoo.

I have wrote in past posts that I’m doing coffee carts to help people in a huge way. Well let me say I have my first cart ready to go but the last 2 locations have fell through. Now I have an application for the 3rd location. I called today to see how that was going because I felt karma must kick in here because I have helped two people just today. Well the application is in but the results not back yet. But I do hope it comes through because this location is busy enough to employ 7 people. That means I get to help 7 people to get on their feet in a huge way (Accommodation, make-over and things) and then give them training for full time employment working the coffee carts.

Let’s just hope it comes through. The biggest problem is that I need the first location so I can say it works and have experience.

I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Guinness World Record BBQ

I was asked advice about helping homeless and things I do. I thought “I’d kill two birds with one stone” and write a blog post and just say a few things I do.

Firstly every person is different and I adjust to what they say more than anything. I do my ‘Pie & Coke’ which is me going up to someone and just asking if they would like to join me in having something to eat and drink. The idea is to buy the food and just sit and listen. I have found most people like to talk about themselves and homeless are no different. But listening to them I get an understanding of where there coming from.

You see people are homeless because of different reasons and only a fool would think they know the reason before talking to the person. The thing I learnt quickly was that sometimes there can be a quick fix to help people and some is a long road. In a lot of cases it’s mental health, something that’s happened to them before they became homeless or just hardship that got on top of them. All of which is very important to address before even thinking of helping that person get off the streets.

But I think one of the most important things is I don’t ever sit above them, if their sitting on the grass then so am I. I talk to whoever it is as an equal and a mate. I try to understand what they have/are going through and I always offer (only) to help by contacting or giving the correct services I think would help them. Now I’d like to say this is very successful, sure a lot of people open up and I’m able to help them in a huge way, but I can say there’s heaps of homeless people I’ve not even being able to get their names. But the way I see it I manage to give them a hot meal and drink and that in itself is worthwhile.

I think that’s why I like walking around and offering to buy someone a meal and just chat. I’m just a guy trying to be a friend/mate, I don’t ask them to come to an office which some wouldn’t, I talk to them in their environment where they feel more comfortable.

Now I’m not a counsellor by any means and I’m sure they would handle things much better than anything I’d do or say. But I do the best I can, because I was homeless and I feel I do have an understanding of what they are going through. Besides I do have a great success rate and that’s better than doing nothing.

So in fact if I was to offer advice in helping ‘Homeless People’ then I would say “take the word homeless away and your left with just PEOPLE”.  I really think some people forget that they are really just dealing with people going through hard times and in a lot of cases that’s all. Whether it’s someone with Mental health, Bad past or even hardship they are people.

Now if I really wanted to get into details I’m sure I could write a book and better yet a series of books. But in my book the biggest thing to remember is that some people slide off the tracks a bit and it’s understanding why first is the biggest step.

One thing I have learnt is that if you push for helping when they’re not ready then you may get burnt and waste resources.

Now on a different note, lately I have been doing my BBQ’s every 2 months and helping a lot of homeless and people in need at one time. But because of me having Leukaemia and recent events with me having a Heart attack and a Stroke in the last 10 months I am trying to put in place a ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for the biggest BBQ helping homeless and people in need. You see I want to show how much help is needed because of the numbers of people coming. So the next BBQ is planned to be in November. I know it means not helping people with BBQ’s every 2 months but I really feel doing this will help many more in the future if it gets the awareness of numbers out.

I’m sure there’s a lot of people will want to come on board and help with this one and to be honest I’ll need all the help I can get. Haha So please email or call me.

I’d like to thank you for reading my blog and I hope you have a great day.

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011

Sunday, April 7, 2013


This post is going to be all “Heart”

Bernie the Polite Girl and I did a post on Facebook for people to come and help sort some of the clothes that we had for the next BBQ event. Mostly putting all the male clothes in the bag marked males etc. Well 6 people answered the call to come and give up there Saturday and give a hand. Rod, Pauline, Dave, Denise, Tom and Troy.

These guys turned up with wide smiles and ready to be put to work helping. We all started going through bags and sorting damaged clothes and putting the good ones into their right bag. The atmosphere and heart coming from everyone was awesome with fun and jokes, but most of all we all knew we were doing a lot of work to help others for later. I must say I was proud to not just be there but to just know these awesome people.

The time came for us to finish bagging clothes and we just sat and had a few more laughs before everyone went home. For me this was one of the reasons I started doing BBQ’s, it shows the community coming together to help with no reason but to know there helping people in need. Two of them (Dave and Denise) travelled from the Gold Coast, can’t make the next event because of plans already which will be the only event they haven’t been to since I started 3 years ago. But they showed up full of heart ready to help here without ever seeing the end result of a homeless or person in need using them clothes. Their ACE’S in my book and always will be.

Now writing about Dave and Denise reminded me of a story I was told a while ago which at the time gave me hope and inspiration. Dave’s mum and she neighbour went to the store to buy a lot of toothbrush’s to donate at our BBQ, going to the checkout the young lady working the cashier asked why so many toothbrush’s. Dave’s mum explained about the BBQ’s and about how they were donating them. The cashier (In the Gold Coast) asked them to wait a minute and ran off, Came back with $20 and asked if they would get more to donate from her.

The next time Dave’s mum went back to the store the cashier did the same thing. This is someone that will never meet the people who gets the toothbrush’s, but she knew they were going to people in need. The sad thing is I don’t even know her name to mention on here. But hearing about someone like that really inspired me to do so much more because others are too.

One thing that makes me so proud and that’s that I go on Facebook, Twitter or walk through the city and I hear from all these people wanting to help or about what they’re doing to help homeless/people in need. To think I know such awesome and great people really inspires me to do so much more because I feel like I’m not alone trying to help.

I want to thank you all for reading my post and I hope you all have a great day.

Grant the Polite Guy

Grant Richards

0412 190 011

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I'm Back

Well to say I’ve been busy is an understatement, ha ha that’s for sure. I’ll write a recap about what’s been happening.

I made a request for people to make donations for coffee carts which were around $5,000 to build. I am proud to say the first one is being built right now. Just AWESOME. Thank you to all those who did donate and those who will.

To donate please do at an account that is set up for the coffee carts.

St Greoge Bank.

BSB 114-879

ACC 467524908

The next homeless BBQ has been planned for the
28th of April  

Browns Park, Ipswich

10am to 2pm

Now this BBQ is going to be no different than the others, We’ll be collecting beforehand to hand out Clothes, Toiletries, Food/Drinks, Blankets/Sleeping Bags, Tin Food, Kids Toys and things like that. But the one need that is more important is handing out fliers before the day and helpers on the day. To donate these items please come on the day or contact me on 0412 190 011,

A lot of people have said that they haven’t seen me for a few weeks, Well two weeks ago I have a mini stroke. I spent almost a week in hospital and I’ve been taking it easy for the last week. In fact I’m starting to think I’m invincible because in the last 12 months I was diagnosed with Leukaemia, had a mild heart attack and now a mini stroke. I remember the Doc saying “One day you’ll lean down to tie your shoe laces and just drop.” I know this is serious but I smiled and said “I have too many people to help before I go mate and besides I don’t have laces on my boots.” So if you don’t see me as much I’m trying to take it easy or doing treatments/tests.

One thing I love to do is work on projects that help people. While I was homeless I thought of an idea about an educational DVD, when young girls get their period for the first time. For some, this can be very nerve wrecking if they don’t have a lot of information about the changes to their body. So while homeless, it seems so funny now, but I would put coins in a pay phone and call lots of different sanitary-item companies asking them what information they send young girls. I remember going to an internet café trying to find an educational DVD for young girls for when they get their period for the first time. Got nowhere fast, so I decided to make one. I wrote the script, I used a doctor and a nurse to present on the DVD, it turned out AWESOME! It covers great things like health and hygiene, changes to the body,  how to use and dispose of products, what is a period, and everything young girls need to know. I know, it seems weird, but a homeless guy thought of this and the DVD is very successful and is going to help a lot of people in the future worldwide.

To check out the new website that I have, please go to

I was inspired so much because of helping people using these DVDs I am now going to be doing an educational DVD on important things like bullying, manners and politeness, sex education (the birds and the bees), sexually transmitted diseases, contraception. And many more.

I would like to thank you for reading this blog post. I will be writing more regularly, but as I said my health has been bad and I am sorry for not writing as much. I hope you all have a great day, and if you could help promote this current DVD I have, I believe it will help even more people.

Thank you again,
Grant the Polite Guy
From the Polite Team
0412 190 011

Monday, January 28, 2013

Helping Flood Victim and Homeless BBQ

The floods are back and people are feeling the hardships. Some losing everything they own and facing that hard truth of how fast it can happen. For a lot of people the worst isn’t over. They have to return to their homes and see what if anything is left and the clean up.

Now I’m not going to write about the flood, because the media is all over it. Every channel.

What I want to write about is, there’s nothing worse than when you realize you have lost everything and that feeling of hopelessness of being able to do nothing about it. Not a good feeling. I know I have faced it many of times.

I woke up this morning and saw the horror on T.V. I spoke to Bernie the Polite Girl and we quickly agreed.

On Sunday the 17th of Feb

10am to 2pm

At Musgrave Park

Signal Flare is doing a BBQ for Homeless, Flood Victims and People in Need.

Now I have done many BBQ’s for the Homeless and people in need. This one will be no different except a lot bigger. As before all things will be given out for free and nothing is charged for anything. There will also be services there that can help in huge ways so if your Homeless or Flood affected or just in Need then come and get help. It’s for you too.

 But this BBQ will need so much more.

Insect Repellents

Can Food

Cleaning Products

Kids Toys (A lot of kids lost all their toys too)

Clothes (All sizes from babies to XXX Large)




Linen (Sheet, pillow cases and things like that)

Kitchen things (Plates, cups and things)

Pot’s and Pans

A lot of people helping sort things before, during and after the event.

Truck load of food and drinks. Haha Did I say one truck load. Haha Many needed I think.

Now the rest I’m thinking if people could take a picture and we will have a board for the pictures and people can request things from that board, e.g. Beds, tables and chairs, Vacuum’s, Iron/boards, Furniture, TV’s and things like that. If people tell us they have them to give then we can offer on the day and it can go straight from person giving to person needing them. NOT brought to the park event.

I know this is a bigger list then I have done before, but these people will need them to start making their lives normal again so I say please help if you can.

This is a chance to help people when they need it most. If people want to contact on Facebook about this event please go to

I’m not going to write along post today because I have so much to do helping people. I will ask that this event will help that many more people if you share this post and help get the word out, you can do this by hitting the blue “F” or “T” at the bottom of this post. We’d have more helping and more finding out where to get help.

I’d like to thank you all for reading this blog post and I hope your all safe from this flood and if not please know there’s help coming.

Grant the Polite Guy

0142 190 011

P.S A great person (Karen Croke that helps as much as I do) and I (Grant Richards) has been nominated  for volunteer of the year and need votes to win. Please do on The winner get $1,000 for them and $10,000 towards their charity. Karen or I can help a lot more people with that money.

Thank you again.

Grant the Polite Guy

Friday, January 11, 2013

The start of it all

I was sitting here thinking about how big things have gotten and it made me think about how it all started. So I thought I’d write about how the very first BBQ started and why.

I hate to say it, but all this started with a lady which was one of my customers, coming up to me and asking me “If I give you some clothes that don’t fit any more could you pass them on to someone that needs them?” at the time I was homeless myself and thought of all the homeless I had meet over time, I knew if the lady gave me clothes I could find someone that it fit.

“Of course I can and I’ll make sure they go to someone that really needs them.”

The next day in the morning I was selling my Big Issue magazines and that same lady came to me with a bag of clothes, smiling with a broad and wide smile. I could tell she was proud she was doing something really good. I took the bag and that afternoon a girl was wearing them. I remember that great feeling of joy looking into the girl’s eyes as I handed out clothes from the bag and asking if she could use them.

That night I remember laying on a bench at Southbank thinking of how many people had clothes and things they never used. I know I didn’t sleep much that night, but I was so positive in thinking that it felt good to just lay there and think/daydream. It was a huge turning point for me and I think I knew it.

The next day I changed my Thank you notes to include, On (Date) I’m collecting clothes to be given to Micah which will be handed out to homeless for free.

A lot of people started talking to me (over the two weeks) about how great it was and to be ready for a lot of clothes, they weren’t wrong. On the morning of collecting the clothes there were bags everywhere. I filled two taxi’s fill and I mean fill. Ha ha I remember the second taxi driver saying it won’t all fit, but what he didn’t know was that I didn’t have much money and I didn’t think I had enough for the two taxi so the third taxi wasn’t going to happen. It all fit. I sat on bags and carried bags on my lap but it all fit. Ha ha

Making it to Micah we unloaded bags everywhere and to be honest if I hadn’t done it myself I wouldn’t have believed it would have fit too. I paid the taxi’s and had a couple of dollars left. The staff of Micah were very impressed and thanked me a lot. I reminded them of their promise of not charging homeless for them and left with a feeling of archiving something very great.

After that I spent weeks telling homeless that Micah had a storeroom of clothes if they needed any.

About a month later I had been told by some of my customers that they had more clothes and asking when I’m doing it again. My mind went into helping mode and I called ‘The 139 Club’ saying I’m going to share the love and do a collection in two weeks for them. I changed my Thank you note again. Ha ha.

Even though I was homeless at this time I had some great friends, one of them (Brad) came up to me and said “Grant I love what you’re doing, so if you ask The 139 Club I will put a few snags on a BBQ for the homeless when they come and collect the clothes.” I thought this was a great idea and called them that day. They said a BBQ idea was good but better if I did it at the park down the road. (more area)

I contacted the Council right after to see what I would have to do. Now I still get a laugh about this next bit because of the way things were said. I meet Brain from the council (A Top Guy) and we walked through New Farm park looking for a great location for this BBQ, when he turned and said “How many are you expecting to come?” I turned and said “ Not sure yet but if I’m going to do a BBQ for homeless there’s is a lot of them, maybe 400 will come.” Brain looked at me and asked “what organization was I from?”  I smiled and said “I’m Grant the Polite Guy with a lot of friends.”

Brain left letting me know of all the things I’d need for such a big event and saying that Musgrave Park would be better location while shaking his head. Haha I didn’t know I’d need half the things Brain told me so it was great he did. I walked back to the city thinking I’m in over my head and it was a good idea but I don’t have the resources for something like this.

I walked pass a park and for some reason I noticed 3 homeless laying on benches, but the thing I noticed more was that 2 of them had bags which would have held clothes and things. 1 of them didn’t have a bag and it made me think of when I was jumped and my bag was stolen. There’s nothing worst because you loss everything in life all over again.

I got to the city and called the council saying I’d take Musgrave Park and I planned the BBQ for 4 weeks later. I remember thinking if I made it longer then I would work as hard getting it together and maybe cancel it all together. 4 weeks meant getting it done now. There was a need and this was too important not to do.

A homeless guy was going to put on a BBQ for the homeless. I knew I’d need a lot of things, but I also kept thinking I have a lot of friends and wasn’t alone.

Now the people I’m about to mention have helped from day one and to this day has turned up and helped, never asking for any credit or even a mention on here or in the media. These people are true helpers which I couldn’t have done any of these BBQ without them. They do it because their hearts are in the right place.

Adrian- I went to see Adrian at his printing shop and said I needed fliers to hand out to homeless. The only way to get homeless there was to get a lot of fliers and walk around handing out and telling them on the streets. Adrian has now moved to a different printing place but he still prints my fliers and posters. I also get fliers from Worldwide Printing  32298522   

Tony- is just amazing and without him I don’t think we would have gotten going in them 4 weeks. You see the (Don’t remember how) radio like the fact that a homeless person was doing a BBQ for the homeless and asked me to be on radio to promote it and ask for help with resources putting it all together. Tony called and out of his pocket paid for most of the things needed for the first BBQ. For that I owe the man and he will always have my respect and be a mate.

Andrew-  has a high position in the Nab Bank and like Tony put his hand into his pocket and helped with the first and every event which help me to of made it happen. He even brought the first marquee. Haha. I owe so much to Andrew for just being the great mate he is. I can say this and that’s “The guy’s got contacts” haha there’s nothing he can’t get or do.

Vanessa- she’s awesome and likes to be tough (I wouldn’t mess with her. Haha) but really she has a heart of gold and every BBQ she helps in such huge ways, But the biggest thing she does is keeps me wanting to help more just to be more like her. I know she will want to kick my ass for writing this but it’s true. She’s soft hearted and makes me want to be more like her when helping people. Sorry Ness. Haha

Craig- On my first BBQ I had no-where near the clothes needed for such a huge event. I posted on Face book, Twitter and of course here on my blog and asked for help getting clothes and things. Craig called and said he had all the clothes and toiletries needed for the event. You see he collected a lot of things from people while the floods were on and after the floods and less to help he had warehouses full of box’s. I got a van load of box’s of clothes and drinks.

Brad- Now this was all his fault because he started this by saying he would do a small BBQ out the front of 139 Club. The guy is one of my best mates and I can say he has turned up to every BBQ and on the last one came and brought St. John’s First Aid with him as now he’s a First Aid officer. The guy is like a rock for me and sometimes grounds me when I slide off track. As mates go there’s no better.

Dave & Denise- These guys have been to every BBQ I have ever done and one of our biggest collectors when it comes to clothes and things. I would write more about them but I’m doing my next post on them because their awesome.

WOW this post became long and I’m sorry about that. But the thing is some people turn up and only want to be famous or have the media. These guys have helped in so many ways and yet in most cases this is their first mention since all this started 1 ½ years ago. I say “Thank you”

But to finish my story, the BBQ happened within the 4 weeks with help of these people as well. I wasn’t alone, I formed a team and have watched many come and go. But those guys have been around since me.

The BBQ was a huge success and help many, the start of long road of helping people even me. I got on my feet after the third BBQ because I never used any of the resources for myself because I never collect for me I collected for others.

1,800 words, once again I’m sorry for the long post.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and maybe understand that anyone can put together a BBQ for the homeless because when I decided to do it I gave myself 4 weeks and I had nothing. (I was homeless)

Please share this post by using the button below. If anything I want to bring homeless awareness everywhere.

Thank you again.

Grant the Polite Guy

0412 190 011