Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1. Day 214. Tackling the Big Issues

This is Tom. Big Issue vendor #801
I handed over my $5 this morning to Tom just by the QUT Kelvin Grove Busway and in return he gave me a copy of the magazine and an insight into his life (as well as permission to take this photograph).
Tom's story is a reflection of the horrible truth about homelessness and poverty in Australia - most of us are only one or two pay cheques away from being in a great deal of financial stress. If the income stream suddenly stops and the bills don't, then what?
In Tom's case a serious accident has left him incapable of working most jobs.
He tells me about waking up in hospital with two broken arms, two broken legs and serious damage to his lungs and liver after being hit by a car on the Gold Coast. He even shows me a very nasty scar on his leg where the muscle protrudes.
But, he says, he never complained.
"I couldn't, my jaw was wired shut."
He tells me that you have good days and bad days selling the Big Issue. The magazine comes out fortnightly and when it is hot off the press you do well. Other days you might not sell a single copy.
Vendors like Tom get $2.50 from the sale of the magazine which is designed to give people who are homeless, disadvantaged or marginalised a leg up.
Tom, for one, is grateful because he says he could not do a normal job.
I'm the first one to admit that I whinge about my job. Speaking to Tom, I shall try to be just a bit more grateful that at least I have one.


  1. And I will too Susan. Thank you for listening to Tom & sharing his story, cheers Heather

  2. I use to buy the big issue ever fortnight when British people were selling them, even got a Christmas card from a regular seller in Irvine. now it is all immigrants you see. I feel they should not be allowed to come over here and take the charity away from our own people. I could not got to another European country and expect handouts, money to live on, my rent paid and then go seeking charitable donations on top.

  3. Tom's my vendor too. He's a champ,

  4. GOOD to be grateful