I lived in Brisbane till I was 14 then moved to Coffs Harbour for 12 years. I worked on the banana farms, then as a surveyor’s assistant. Never had a day off in a year-and-a-half because the boss would pick me up to take me out to work. Then I worked for Baker Bill’s Fine Pies. When they moved, I came back up here to Brisbane. I did construction. I travelled around with the motocross, building and pulling down grandstands.
I’m the father of four girls and one son. I am still with the mother of my four youngest. She lives overseas – we are together but a long way apart. I brought up my first daughter as a single father till she was 17, until my accident.
I knew about The Big Issue when I was driving taxis. You had to start driving at 4am or sometimes you wouldn’t get a car. I was bringing up my daughter, so I couldn’t get there at that time. I was looking for something on the side when I missed out on a taxi, so I started selling the magazine.
Then I had my accident. A car went to overtake me on my scooter and there was a car coming this way and so they had to take me out to avoid a head-on. Seven broken ribs, a broken shoulder, two fractures to the skull, epilepsy and amnesia. I was out cold for a week. I couldn’t recognise any of my visitors, including my daughter. That was 15 years ago. Today, I’m not allowed to drive and I have to keep my feet on the ground. After the accident, I went full-time with The Big Issue.
I’m one of the most known people down by the government building because I say “morning” to everybody there every day when I’m selling. I was told that by a customer. The income from selling The Big Issue does make a difference. I dress a lot better than I would just living off the pension.
Outside The Big Issue I’ve played in the odd pool comp. I was ranked 13 in New South Wales a few years ago. And I won a B-grade competition in snooker, which made me an A-grade player. I played rugby league till I was 22. As a junior, I played halfback for Wynnum Manly, then went to Souths. I’m a huge Broncos supporter and a big Roars FC fan. And I was one of the first Street Soccer players, starting two weeks from the beginning.
I want to visit my family. I’ve never seen my son and he’s a year and three months – I would have been there for his birth, but then COVID came along.
My memory still isn’t the best but it’s improving. I don’t hold grudges but let bygones be bygones. Hate’s a bad thing – you start hating things and, before you know it, it comes back on you. I believe I’m getting stronger from the accident every day. I’m not letting things hold me be back.
David K sells The Big Issue at Queens Plaza and William Street, Brisbane.
Interview by Peter Simmons.
Photo by Barry Street.