I would like to take this opportunity to cordially invite you all to the May 2017 edition of One Step Away. As many of you long time readers are aware of, the May edition is also known as the ‘Vendor Edition.’ This is traditionally One Step Away’s most popular edition and hopefully 2017 will be no different.
Over the years, I have gotten to know quite a few people who have been supportive and have been entertained by the stories that I’ve written. It’s gotten to the point where I’m always being asked if I have an article in the new edition. I’ll admit sometimes it’s a bit challenging to think of something every month but it’s certainly nice to know that I am in demand. Over the years, I’ve come to find out the hard way: it’s when people no longer pressure you, is when you need to worry.
Well I guess this is the part where I say a little something about myself while answering a few commonly asked questions.
My name is Charles and I am one year older than I was last year at this time. I am originally from Bucks and Montgomery counties. In some circles the area is known as Buxmont. I became homeless back in the fall of 2011 after having a falling out with a job I was working at the time. It wasn’t a very high paying job, and I was for the most part living paycheck-to-paycheck. I tried to quickly find a new job but kept hearing from most interviewers, “We’ll keep in touch.” And I’m sure most of you out there know what that means. Eventually what little savings I had dried up, and I had nowhere to go. On one of my journeys through Center City I happened to stumble upon Occupy Philly where I ran into a few vendors who introduced me to One Step Away and explained to me what it was about. I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to do it at first. Most of the jobs I’ve held in the past mostly required physical labor and I worked with minimal human contact. Being a vendor required that I develop new skills. Not to mention enduring all types of unpleasant weather. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that luck doesn’t sometimes play a factor. Some days as a vendor you simply need to be in the right place at the right time and meet the right people. Far too often you run into many indifferent or self-centered people, but you can’t let it discourage you. You have to focus on those people who are open-minded and willing to listen. It brings me great satisfaction when I can change someone’s perception on a topic like homelessness, that unfortunately too many people choose to pretend doesn’t exist. I enjoy being able to separate fact from fiction for people who may have otherwise been misled. There are times I am reluctant to go out and do my job because the sales aren’t always easy to make, but I know if I don’t I’ll be the one who suffers, for unlike most jobs, there are no sick days or vacation time. Nowadays when people ask how sales are going I just simply shrug my shoulders and say, “Some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield.” I don’t know how much longer I’ll be a vendor for, one day I’m sure I’ll explore new opportunities.
One question I’ve heard several times buzzing around our vendor site a few times is: “What would you tell someone who is not familiar with One Step Away?” Well I would simply just tell them it’s a self-help program for homeless people who actually want to help themselves. We write the stories ourselves and we’re also on Facebook and have our own website which explains everything in greater detail.
Well I hope that answers a few questions some of you may have had about me. If there are any questions left unanswered feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet just ask me in person. Until then…Audwiedersehen, Charles