I was born and raised in Canberra. I have an older sister and a really caring mum. My dad passed away when I was 11. It was pretty hard on Mum; she had to look after two kids. It was hard on me too.
I went to a public high school and a public primary school as well. They helped me with my study. But at high school I had four years of bullying. I ended up at a separate college where I did Year 11 and Year 12. They had a program that helped me with English and maths. Mum helped a lot, but I didn’t end up getting my certificate. But at college I did get my first girlfriend. I don’t have a girlfriend now but I am looking for love. Absolutely!
I have cerebral palsy. I can walk but not very well. And I’m blind at night and have to wear glasses. I communicate with people using my iPad – I type what I want to say.
Before I started selling The Big Issue I worked at a mail centre where I pulled staples out of documents. This was in a public service office. Then I worked at a recycling plant. At the same time I was at CatholicCare one day and met a disability support worker called John who told me about The Big Issue. He was the support worker for Tau, who was also a Big Issue vendor. I decided to start selling the magazine and after a while left my job at the recycling plant so I could spend more time with The Big Issue. I’ve been selling in Canberra the whole time. My pitch is in Jamison. It’s a great spot and it’s really close to where I live.
The best thing about selling The Big Issue is the money and the social aspect. I have lots of regular customers. They always stop for a bit of a chat. When we recently had the Big Issue postcards, I was really touched to get so many of them. I felt loved by everyone.
I’m hoping to save enough money and after COVID go on a holiday to Broome. I love to travel. I’ve already been to Uluru. I’ve also been to Scotland, Wales, England, France and Singapore. My favourite place to visit was Scotland – I went with my aunt. I loved the haggis and Edinburgh Castle, because I love history. I didn’t try on a kilt though.
When I’m not selling, I play UNO and boardgames like snakes and ladders. I love to watch the Sydney Swans, Wallabies and Canberra Raiders. I’ve got a new flatmate and he also enjoys watching football, but he follows the South Sydney Rabbitohs. I go to church every Sunday. It has really friendly people, and on the first Sunday of every month I attend a disability group called Rainbow Fellowship. They’re a great bunch of people too.
I’m going to keep selling The Big Issue. It gets the big thumbs up from me. I’d like to say thank you to all my customers for their respect and for understanding me.
Bryan sells The Big Issue at Jamison Plaza, Canberra.
Interview by Anastasia Safioleas.
Photo by Rohan Thomson.