Michael, Morrisons, Kirkstall

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in 1958. My birthday is in February and so I am 64 now. I’m Leeds born and bred. I have a learning disability so when I sell the magazine I have a support worker nearby who helps me when I need it. I have sold the magazine for about eight years.

Why do you sell the magazine?
I sell the magazine to get a little bit of money and I love meeting people. I like saying good morning to people. I like to get out and about. It can be hard when the weather is bad in winter but now the weather is warming up a bit, things are getting better. I have some very good customers. Sometimes I get a free coffee and a butty from the shop and that’s really good!

How did you start selling the magazine?
I used to sell the Yorkshire Evening Post and when that job stopped, I had the idea to sell the magazine because some other people who used to sell the Evening Post came here.

Where do you live?
I live with a flatmate in supported accommodation with staff nearby who can come and help when we need them. My pitch is not far from where I live and it’s good exercise walking from my home to my pitch. Once a week I come into the Leeds office to buy my magazines and then I sell on my pitch two days a week – on a Tuesday and a Friday. I usually sell in the mornings for three hours each time.

What makes you happy? 
I am happy when I have sold all my magazines. I like feeling independent and helping other people as well. And I have a girlfriend who I have been dating for a long time. We got engaged and we might get married soon.

What was it like during the lockdowns?
During the lockdown it was very hard. I didn’t come out of the house. It was very difficult and I felt very alone and isolated and it affected my health. But I’m back now and it is nice because I have a lot of customers who know me and they worried about me when I wasn’t there. It feels so good to be outside.

What else do you like doing?
I like watching movies. I really like On The Buses. And the other day I watched The Italian Job with Michael Caine. That was good. And I like going to the seaside. I like going to Scarborough. We went recently but we haven’t got any plans to go again at the moment.

Do you have any family?
I have a brother and a sister. But my brother drinks too much. My sister is more sensible – she doesn’t drink. I go to visit her sometimes with a carer.

What are the people who support you like?
They are all right haha! I like making jokes and laughing with them. I am always laughing. When I am selling the magazine my carer will often stand in the shop and watch me. Sometimes they have to help if I am given a big note and have to handle a lot of change.

Do you have a message for your customers? 
Thank you very much. I really love talking with people and being good and being nice.

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