Sunday, October 28, 2012

Balls for the Homeless

As people know I was asking for clothes and things for 3 homeless people who had lost everything over the weekend. The results were fantastic, Help came from everywhere and most of all that were lost were replaced. I have to say there’s nothing worst then being down on your luck and then trying to put together a few things just to live only to lose it all. I keep saying I wish people could come with me to hand things like this out because their smiles and the thank you’s makes my so proud of what I do. Helping people in need.

I would like to say a few words about 2 amazing people that went far and beyond anything I asked for.

Rachel Turner caught a train to the city and handed me lots of beautiful clothes and told me all about how she had just rescued a dog from the pound. Very proud as she showed me pictures as well. An amazing person.

Oddur Thomas Augustsson or “Tom” for short is a very good mate of mine. He’s helped many of times with different things to do with the homeless, also he’s one of my best customers who buys my magazines and Amway products. But this day to help 3 people he’ll never meet he went out and bought clothes and from home got a towel and things as well. The guy is awesome and I’m proud to call him a mate.


Now I’ve been so excited to share this news, but I couldn’t because I wanted to make sure it was all going together properly first.

Christmas BBQ for the Homeless 
When: Sunday 2 December
Where: Musgrave Park, South Brisbane
Time: 10:00AM - 2:00PM

I am all about showing the homeless that the community is coming together to help with these events. I thought about Christmas and was thinking what a better time to do it. Really Christmas time is about families and friends coming together.

How to make it so homeless get the Christmas feeling? We will give the homeless balls. Haha Stop laughing it’s Christmas Balls I’m talking about. I’m thinking we get a art pen and write their name on them and give a ball and a Christmas card. Now I just had a heart felt moment of thinking, if even just one person keeps that ball and looks at it or even hangs it up on Christmas Night then it’ll be worth it to hand them out.

So what do we need to put this BBQ event together for maybe 1,000 homeless and people in need?

Clothes and lots of them,

Blankets and sleeping bags


Drinks (Bottled water/ soft drinks)

Christmas balls

Christmas cards

A mountain of helpers to hand out flyiers before the event to homeless

A mountain of helpers on the day

Flyiers made up

Beer for Grant for doing great job. Haha

I would put food and insurance but it’s taken care of by Jerome Dalton from Dalton’s Hospitality. (There awesome)

Now remember our golden rule, it’s all they can eat and all clothes and everything there is free if they can carry it. We have had such success with these BBQ’S and helped so many people with just clothes and things, for some helping to get on their feet. I must say it makes me proud that people like you make this happen. Let’s band together and show the community coming together.

For a more up to dates about this BBQ please go to!/events/493716907326056/ 

Thank you very much for reading my blog and I hope you all have a great day.
Grant the Polite Guy

Friday, October 26, 2012

Our Next BBQ for the Homeless and Others In Need

It’s been a while but we have the next BBQ for the Homeless coming up, folks! We are all up, running and inspired, and it’s going to be great. Here are the details:

WHEN:                  SUNDAY 2 DECEMBER
TIME:                    10:00AM – 2:00PM

Free BBQ plus free clothes, shoes, bags, toiletries etc to collect for homeless people and others in need: when they can take it with them, it’s theirs. Plus there will be a Christmas surprise for everyone.

Being pretty new to the whole thing but learning fast, I have to say the buzz you get from handing out flyers in the days leading up to the event followed by the BBQ itself is like no other. When someone’s reason to hug you is the fact that you said one simple word, “hello”, you can see the need: the need of disadvantaged people to be part of the community. You can also see that it's not happening enough. When this happens to you, you cannot NOT know, and you change. Actually, it is quite sad that a simple and basic “hello” can make people so overwhelmingly happy because it should be quite normal to be said hello to.

This happened to me with the second person I handed a flyer to. He was an elderly, indigenous man sitting on a little wall in Fortitude Valley. I walked up to him, smiled and said hello. It was amazing how his face changed when it lit up. He looked so happy, stood up and hugged me like I was a long lost friend. A friendly “hello” was all it took. He had a lot of hair and a long beard which got all in my face, but it didn't matter. When I gave him the flyer and told him what it was all about, he invited me to sit next to him on the wall, he took his little Bible out of his pocket, folded the flyer down the middle very carefully, put it in there, and started to explain his Bible to me. It was one for indigenous people, with an indigenous cover. As we were talking three other indigenous men came to stand a couple of metres away, just watching us, and probably making sure that their mate was OK. I told them about the BBQ and handed them flyers as well.

It is this kind of thing that makes you realize how important these BBQs are, not just for the food and clothes, but also and especially because of the interaction, because people feel they are acknowledged as people. One lady at Grant’s BBQ told me I had made her feel so welcome, as I had welcomed her with a very real smile as she arrived that morning, and she wasn’t used to getting many of those. Making people feel worthy and making them feel the human being they are really is a very simple thing to do, and so worthwhile. Anyone can do it.

These are some of the reasons why we believe in the BBQs. There is a lot of work to be done for the upcoming Christmas BBQ. We are so grateful to have Dalton Hospitality on board to help out with food, equipment, people and insurance; our appreciation of Dalton’s generosity is beyond words. The dedicated people of Knitting for Brisbane’s Needy will also generously lend their support as always, and we are so honoured to have them; thank you, guys! There will be homelessness services available to assist people in various matters.

You can help by giving clothes, shoes, toiletries, bags, etc. Also, to let homeless people and others in need know we have this event coming up, we need to meet them where they are: on the streets, in the boarding houses, hostels and lodges. We will need volunteers to go and to hand out flyers (we will be doing this ourselves as well) and to help out on the day sorting clothes, shoes and other things, and to assist people with various things. Let us know if you want to help make this Christmas BBQ special for a lot of people – and we do expect a lot of people. The community coming together for the community...

Not a very long post this time, but I think it has the info. We are looking forward to the BBQ and we enjoy the preparations and seeing the event come together more and more. Gotta fly, have a great day and be safe, everyone!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl

Monday, October 22, 2012

SOS Emergency 3 homeless

I have an SOS emergency, this is why people follow so please help. Today 3 homeless came to me at different times and told me how they lost all their clothes and bags over the weekend. This struck me as odd because well yes even I lost bags of clothes and in fact everything I own when I was homeless but it was strange that 3 would on the same weekend.

They weren’t together so I thought some asshole went around collecting for himself/herself or just to throw out as a mean thing to do.

So he’s my SOS, I know there’s nothing like losing everything you have over and over again. So I’m collecting clothes and much needed things for them. I have given a few things I had stored in the city for tonight.

Male Clothes:

Shorts, Shirts and a Jacket, X-Large



2* 1Female Clothes:

Undies size 12.

Shirts, pants and skirts size 12-14

Bra’s 14c

Toiletries for girls

Luggage Bags

 I will say when your homeless and you have only a few things in life, you try hard to protect them well. But when you lose them again and your left with nothing but the clothes on your back then let’s just say it’s not a good feeling. So if you have these sizes or things and you don’t want, then please bring them to me over the next two days at Post Office Square on Queens St, I’m the polite guy selling Big Issue magazines from 6:30-2pm.

I want to make this short and get the message out as soon as possible so I’ll end it here.

Thank you for reading this post and I hope you all have a great day.

Grant the Polite Guy.


Unbroken Spirit

This happened actually a little while ago, but it made an impression on me and so I thought I’d write a post about it. One of these encounters you keep thinking about. It’s the story of one man but it is not unique; there would be more homeless and not-homeless people in the same situation, and so I can relay some details without identifying the person. More than anything, to me it shows the strength and determination of an unbroken spirit. Definitely a positive story.

It was a public holiday, a Wednesday, so probably Show Day. I was in the city and around 11:30AM I bought a Big Issue from this guy on Queen Street (Not Grant the Polite Guy; I don’t know what his name is). He was so happy. He said he had been standing there since 9:00AM, and I was the first person to buy a magazine from him that morning. Now, the Big Issue costs $5, half of which is towards production costs and the other $2.50 is for the vendor. So, in two and a half hours he had earned $2.50, not even enough for a cup of coffee…

We had a little chat, but I was in a hurry because my bus would leave in a few minutes and it left from the city only once an hour, so I kept it brief. Yes, trust me to worry about my bus’s departure time while standing face-to-face with someone with a much larger problem…! I’m far from perfect, booah. The fact that this guy earned $2.50 in two and a half hours, and that after all that time of standing there I was the very first person to buy a magazine, kept playing on my mind though. I thought about how hard it must be when nobody stops to buy a magazine – I actually had this experience just recently and wrote about it in my Big Issue Experience blog post. I wondered how people stayed motivated to keep going, and not to do the easier thing, give up and call it a day…

A few days later I saw this guy again, and without me asking he gave me the answers. I did not buy a magazine off him this time because I already had the issue, but I did a “Pie and Coke” with him, in this case a V energy drink. I had heard of the drink, but since I don’t drink it myself I wondered where I could get it. I should not have worried, Woolworth sells it in the cooler section J The guy gladly accepted the drink and we had a chat.

As I said before, it is not really a story unique to him and so I feel it is OK to share some of it here to shed a bit more light on the issues that impact on homeless people and other disadvantaged people, and also to show that there is hope. This guy’s relationship had broken down as a result of which he had become homeless, he has a little boy whom he sees on some weekends. He had worked his way up from living on the streets of Brisbane to living in a hostel with other disadvantaged men. He said – not without pride – that he paid rent for his room. However, he did not feel that the hostel was an environment he wanted to expose his little boy to. Along the way, he had picked up some drugs and alcohol addictions. And really, I could see how in such excruciating circumstances drugs and alcohol could offer a tempting, temporary band aid. And if there is no incentive not to use or drink, why would they leave it… I’m not saying it’s a great thing, I’m saying I can “get” how some people start to use or drink and keep using and drinking.

This guy found his incentive to stop though. For his little boy he overcame his addictions a few years ago; anyone who knows a little bit about alcohol and drugs knows what a hard-fought victory that would be. He said it was still a struggle on a daily basis, he knew he would always be a recovering addict; he would always remember how it was to be under the influence, but he was determined not to go back. He worked very hard every day at bettering his life in order to get more regular access to his little one; they had a very good relationship. He was proud at having beaten his addictions, he  was proud at doing so well now, that his skin had cleared up, that he looked better, but he also aimed for more change so he could be a better father for his child; a father who would be worth getting more access. Like all of us, he is a work in progress, and I marvel at his strength and resilience.

The love of a parent for a child is amazing and strong, and brings out one’s very best. It is there, no matter what the context. Whether people are homeless or not, addicted or not, the love for their children is the same. People go through thick and thin for their child, to hell and back, to the moon and back, they want the best for their child. There are many ways to express the depth of feeling but, this is what this guy taught me, the love is the same. One of these things I probably already knew but never really thought about. It is the spirits that are unbroken by circumstance that make it back up from the depths. It is difficult but it can be done and it IS done. And it is very humbling to witness that.

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Great News!

Okay I’m so excited with everything happening over the last 24 hours. But first this is going to be the first joint written post by Bernie the Polite Girl and myself. I would really like to know in the comments if you like it or if better we do our own posts?

You know when you raise your fist in the air because you’re so excited? Well because of my back I raised it to shoulder height. But I raised it about 100 times in the last 24 hours. I even done a lot of “YEAH” at the same time. Okay let me just say I got such great news I’m doing it again now. haha

Yesterday I meet up with Jerome Dalton in the city to talk about Dalton’s Hospitality ( being a major sponsor for our new charity and helping with BBQ’S that we do.

The guy is amazing, Loves what we do and is offering to cook and bring chef’s to come too. But wait it gets better, He’s offering to bring all food, orange juice machines to make fresh orange juice on the day, tables and a whole lot more. But the one thing that has me excited the most is the fact that Dalton’s Hospitality can use their insurance to cover our BBQ’S. Which will save us so much money which we will not need to beg for each time we do a BBQ. AWESOME. Haha

To be honest I feel like it’s Christmas already. Haha

So I’m saying to all, Please, if this guy is going to help us with helping the homeless and people in need, then let’s pump his hospitality business with everything we have. So please go to his web-page and share and promote it with me.

The rest of this post is going to be by Bernie the Polite Girl. Even I want to read this. Haha I hope she don’t make me look bad with using bigger words. haha

Written by Grant the Polite Guy. I hope you all have a great day and thank you very much for reading my blog.

Bigger words aye… Haha. I don’t think so J Grant has already said it above. Oh, if you could feel the buzz right now! The Polite Team has some wonderful events in the pipeline – watch this space – and it is just so exciting to see things come together more and more. Meeting great people over coffee during their lunch break to brain storm, get ideas and working them out is a privilege. Having the honour of those people selflessly offering their assistance at no cost to help make our events special and memorable for the homeless, is heart-warming. I am seeing the world through rosy-coloured glasses right now because I know there is so much goodness around. Believe me, there is more good happening in the world than the media are letting on.

It is a privilege to be part of the polite Team (thank you, Grant), as I get to see so much of the goodness and to meet so many more people with their hearts in the right place. Take earlier this week. We met with people who work in the CBD and who spent their lunch break discussing ideas with us and developing “where-to-from-here” plans in order to help our next two events materialize and to make them special and memorable for the people they are aimed at. And only yesterday Grant met with Jerome Dalton, Director/Chef at Dalton Hospitality, one of Brisbane’s premier catering companies. Grant wrote about the incredible result of his meeting with Jerome above, so no need for me to repeat it, but boy, what great news it is. I encounter so much goodwill from people it’s like being in love J

For more information about Dalton Hospitality please go to  or to the Facebook page  Dalton Hospitality is also on Twitter: @Daltoncatering. When you visit these Facebook or Twitter accounts, please say “Hi” from the Polite Team J

I am only a starter in this area of homelessness and, as I said in my Intro, homelessness has not always been on my radar, but I do believe that not in every corner is it the taboo it is in some others: there is a lot of support out there. As Grant often says, people often say to him they want to help but they don’t know how. If you are one of these people, I’d like to say, watch this space J

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pie and coke

I know this is a new blog and I will mention ‘Pie and Coke’ a lot in my writing, so I thought I’d do a post about what it means to me and why I do it.

Firstly a ‘pie and Coke’ is not always a pie or coke, really it’s anything they want to eat and drink, well within reason of course. I don’t get Lobster. Haha. I normally say “I’m going for a pie and coke and I don’t want to eat alone. Would they like to join me, cause I’m paying”. Then I ask what they would like?
Now the first thing I try and do is make a joke or two and try to become friends quickly, if anything show that I’m a mate that only wants to share a meal and have someone to chat too. If anything their doing me a favour by joining me.

Not all come with me to get the food because they have a swag or bags of things, which is all they own so they don’t want to leave or lose them. I always ask what they want and go and get the food, then come back with it.

The idea of doing the ‘pie and coke’ is to well give someone in need something to eat which that in itself is good enough but for me I’m always looking for ones that want to get on their feet. So I sit with them and start the talking (sometimes with a joke or two) but then when they are more comfortable I sit back and mostly listen. I try to steer the chat to why or what happened for them to become homeless.

Now some are just happy being homeless and/or being homeless has become a way of life and even a lifestyle. But the way I see it is everyone is always at different stages in life and I just sit and listen. But then there’s the time that I get someone who is saying things like “I’ve had enough and it’s time to get on my feet” or something like that. That’s when I help to move heaven and earth to help them, but only as much and as fast as they want to be helped. I will say I have helped many people and it’s such a great feeling that it can bring a tear of joy later when I’m on my own.

Now don’t get me wrong I have done this so many times I couldn’t count, there’s been plenty of times I don’t even get there name and the chat is about anything but them. I understand for a lot of them it’s a trust thing and that’s all good because I’m happy to show that I’m a friend. You see for some it’s mental health or there’s so many people out there that take advantage of them that trust is very hard.

For me there’s no limit to how many ‘pies and cokes’ I do for someone. If I have plenty of time and money when I see someone I think needs a meal then I’ll offer. Normally I set out to do my ‘pies and coke’ in the afternoon after work.

I would like to say that when I offer to buy my ‘pie and coke’ they jump in the air with joy and everything’s good, no it’s not the case. I can be polite and offer but even I have had people swear and yell just because I was coming towards them. I know it’s not because it’s me, but anyone would get the same responds. The person is having a bad day or maybe been hurt by others. As I said before there’s a lot of people out there that try/do take advantage of homeless.

I get a lot of people saying how proud they were of me for getting on my feet after being homeless for about 1 ½ years and overcoming so many things in life. I say to people that while I was homeless, people would stop and buy me food and things like that. Now the food was very much needed, but the thing I got from it the most was the ones that showed me enough respect as a person to want to talk to me. I will never stop doing my ‘pie and coke’ for that very reason. While I was homeless there were times I felt ready to get on my feet and I wish I’d meet someone like me now to help.

I will finish by saying “People are always saying that they had wished they had helped me when I was homeless, because of the great work I do for the homeless and how much of a inspiration I am” I say “There’s thousands of people that are homeless and I believe everyone has potential, but people can’t see it because there down on their luck at the moment”

I’d like to thank you all for reading our blog and I hope you all have a great day. Please share with others using the blue T and F buttons below this posting.

Grant the Polite Guy

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P.S I noticed we only have 2 members following our blog at the moment. OHNO. Haha

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bernie the Polite Girl's Big Issue experience

Spending this morning's rush hour wearing the yellow Big-Issue vest and selling the Big Issue magazine was a fascinating experience, and a true lesson in human behaviour and character. I had wanted to sell the Big Issue to feel what that would be like. I felt that a Big Issue experience would enable me to relate better to homeless and other disadvantaged people, because I would come a little bit closer to knowing what it is like to be them in a world where the majority of people is not homeless or otherwise disadvantaged, but where people often take others on face value and judge what they see while all they see is the outside. Grant supported this idea of mine and generously gave me his yellow vest to wear and his magazines to sell during morning rush hour, which is the best time to sell the mags. Quite an eye opener it has been...

There was an icy wind, and it was cold for the time of year. As a matter of fact, today it snowed in Queensland. Perhaps it was the weather or the early hour, or perhaps it was me in a yellow vest and holding up the Big Issue in front of them, but many people had on their cranky faces. Standing there and trying to make eye contact in order to hopefully make a sale that was the first thing I noticed this morning: a lot of cranky faces. I am not generally the labelling kind, but the people who passed me that morning at Post Office Square could be divided in a number of categories:

1.       People who walked there alone, and consciously avoided to make eye contact.

2.       People who walked in packs crossing the street, and consciously avoided eye contact as well. All it took for the pack to split into two was me standing there in the middle of the footpath and holding up the Big Issue: the pack passed me in a wide half-circle on the left and on the right. A lot of dividing power given to me there!

3.       People who looked at me scared and reluctantly mumbled “Good morning” back when I made eye contact and greeted them in an upbeat manner.

4.       People who smiled and said good morning but did not buy a magazine.

5.       People who smiled and came right up to me with the money in their hand to buy a Big Issue, one of whom did not want any change back.

6.       People who smiled and did not buy a magazine but gave me a donation (there were two).

7.       Two individuals who asked directions but bought nothing. One girl walked up to me in a rather determined manner, so I thought happily that she was going to buy a magazine off me. Unfortunately she was not, and she answered my question with an embarrassed “No”. All she wanted was ask me where the Information Centre was. The other individual, an elderly lady, wanted to know where she could catch a taxi and so I pointed her towards the taxi rank across the street.

8.       One guy in a city council uniform who walked past and uttered under his breath “Get a real job!” I was stunned for a moment, then said “You too!” Grant walked up to me and told me it was a set-up. He had wanted me to experience a mild form of the nastiness Big Issue vendors encounter on an average working day. The guy came back and we had a laugh and a very nice chat.

Now, how did the Big-Issue experience make me feel… The majority of people avoided eye contact and, thus, any other kind of contact. It felt like they sent me the message they were unapproachable to me. I was surrounded by them many of times as, like I said, it was rush hour, and Working Brisbane went to work. Of course it helped that I was not really homeless or disadvantaged, and that Grant was standing just a few meters away; I was not completely alone. However, I could feel the crushing impact of people looking away, declining to acknowledge that I even existed, behaving as if I was not really standing there, in the middle of the footpath, as if I was not a human being like them, and avoiding me by walking in a big half-circle around me, scared perhaps that I would start to talk to them.

And if I could feel all these things simply from people walking past the way they did over the span of a few hours, how much worse must it be for homeless people who are without shelter on this cold day, relying on their magazine sales for their next meal, and already having self-esteem and other issues due to homelessness, and experiencing this type of disengagement day in day out…

To the people who bought my magazine and also to those who did not buy but who did smile and say good morning I would like to say Thank You, you truly made my day, recognizing the human being in me. To the people who walked past cranky-faced, avoiding eye contact, I also like to say Thank you, because you made me feel what being a Big Issue vendor and a homeless person can be like, or IS like much of the time. Without you, I would not have learned as much, and I would not have wondered if I am a cranky-faced person myself sometimes.

Someone said to me, wearing the yellow Big-Issue vest you are already pre-judged as someone of lesser value than others and, with my fresh experience, I can confirm that. I find my yellow-vest experience priceless, because I know how wrong that prejudice is. There is no value that can be placed on a life experience that made me adhere to my own ideas even more: the ideas that tell me that everyone has value, purely because they are human beings. The way they are human beings in the world earns them my respect, but it takes a little time to get to know. Of course it is easier to judge people on what they do for a living, on where they live, on what they wear, on their academic degrees, because that information is instantly available to us. However, it is only outside stuff, it says nothing about how someone truly is, how someone’s heart is wired, how someone relates to the world on a human level and these things, to me, are the only things that matter and that earn respect.

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl 

Bernie the Polite Girl Intro

Hi, I’m Bernie the Polite Girl, I was born in Holland, moved to Australia when I was 28 years old, and loved the country ever since.

I have not always noticed the homeless, and used to walk past, like so many. I did not give them much thought. This all changed when a good friend of mine, Tom, introduced me to Grant the Polite Guy. I bought a Big Issue off him, we had a chat and chatted some more, and we became friends. Grant opened my eyes to the plight of the homeless and from then on I wanted to help and get involved hands-on.

The first time I helped homeless people was with one of Grant’s BBQs. I handed out many flyers in the Valley beforehand and talked with many of the homeless at the BBQ on the day. I noticed their joy getting clothes that other people had thrown out and I noticed how selfless and un-greedy many of them were in their concern for others. Really, there is a lot to be learnt by people who have much more worldly stuff. One conversation stood out for me that day. One guy kept separate from the others. While I was sitting on the floor with him he told me his life story. His emotion - brought about by simply being listened to and by the chance to share his story - affected me in a way I had not experienced before: I did not know his name, he did not know mine, we had never met before and would most likely never meet again, yet there was a very honest connection and I knew that helping the homeless was a good thing to be doing.

I experienced firsthand that these homeless people were people like everyone else. The only difference was that perhaps they had less opportunities or more bad luck than everyone else. Their hopes and dreams had been the same. When they were asked as children what they wanted to be when they grew up, homeless was never the answer.  Of course I would always have known all that but didn’t realize it, because of course I had always been too preoccupied to give the issue serious thought. Until I met Grant. I decided I would never walk past with blinkers on again. I learned there is a lot of meaning in doing a “Pie and Coke” even if it turns out to be a burger and a Pepsi, perhaps not in the first place because of the food and drink, but because the other person feels acknowledged as a human being. A small, simple thing to do and a big thing at the same time.

This nickname of Bernie the Polite Girl was generously given to me by Grant because he noted that when dealing with people I show a lot of politeness, or respect for the other person like he does. I am proud of the fact that Grant sees this in me, and therefore I am wearing the title and t-shirt with pride. One thing Grant loves to say to me is “I wish you could see what I see, because you have so much potential to help people and if you could see what I see you would know that.” Yes, perhaps I don’t see it quite as clearly in me as he does, and perhaps I am not as comfortable writing it, but I do know that Grant sees through a lot of crap and outside stuff right to the heart and soul of things, so who am I to dispute that :-)

Grant and I have banded together to help many and to think up ways of helping in the present and in the future. We decided to start this new blog as a team so that you will get two people sharing their experiences and ideas. We believe we work well as a team, so here’s to us, to our new blog, and to you - our readers. Cheers!

Written by Bernie the Polite Girl

Grant the Polite Guy Intro

Hi I’m Grant Richards but most know me as Grant the Polite Guy. For those that don’t know me, I was in most people’s eyes very successful. Married with kids, house, car and things like that. I worked hard to get what I wanted in life and was very proud of the things we had.

About 5 years ago now I had an accident on a stairwell that left me spending 9months in and out of hospitals and left me with a lot of injuries. I don’t talk about it much mostly because it’s depressing, but I was busted up pretty bad with my back getting the worst of it.

That accident cost me everything. I couldn’t walk without a metal back brace and cane for some time. I lost my job, house, family, assets and everything that was dear to me.

I remember I went to the city and just wanted to disappear from everything. I sat in a park for a few days and just gave up. I watched the world go by without me. I became homeless.

I started selling the Big Issue mostly because of hunger, but soon started feeling value in myself. I was still in pain every day, but for me at least I was working again. I started getting customers and people were looking at me as if I was normal, not the crushed body that I saw in the mirror.

One day I asked a customer to print some thank you notes for me so I could hand them out when people bought my magazines. In my eyes I was giving something back for people giving me a go. I also would say “Have a nice day” as they were getting on with their lives. Then just out of the blue a customer stopped and said “You really are Grant the Polite Guy” soon others were hearing it and saying it too. I guess it kind of stuck and more people know me as Grant the Polite Guy then Grant Richards.

About a year later I was more confident and selling my Big Issue magazines when a lady came to me and asked if she could give me clothes to give to the homeless. I said of course of which she gave to me the next day. That night a homeless lady was wearing the clothes and was a lot warmer.

This gave me an idea; I knew a lot of people (not all bought my magazines. I wish. Haha) so I added to my thank you note that I was collecting clothes to give to the homeless on a date in the morning before 9am. I called a homeless centre and said I would give them the clothes if they never sell them to homeless. You can imagine how excited I was when I got 2 taxi’s full of clothes. Well I can say the excitement left for a second because I had to pay for the taxi’s. Haha

I was still homeless but I had done something so good for others that it felt good inside. That day I was hurting all over because of moving bags of clothes but I felt bullet proof.

A month or two later I had have many of people hearing about giving clothes to the homeless and asking when I was doing it again. So I did. I set a date and told people to bring more clothes. I called another homeless centre (I like sharing the love) and said I was coming and maybe expect 2 taxi loads. One of my customers said “Grant if you want we could do a BBQ and feed them when they came to get the clothes” I called the centre and they said we could do that at the park.

I started asking for more things to give and help the homeless, 4 weeks later my first BBQ was at Musgrave Park and clothes, food and drinks were handed out free to about 400 homeless or in need. The thing that made me most proud was I at the time was still homeless. I continued doing BBQ’S for the homeless every 2 months or so.

12 months ago I got on my feet and started a Shoe Shinning business which I made very successful. Then 3 months I was told from blood results I have a blood disorder call Polycythaemia vera. I gave up the shoe shinning business so I was able to do all the tests and get treatment. To be honest I wasn’t worried about it because I had no idea what it was. Then the booklets came from the Leukaemia Foundation and I became a little scared. Haha.

I gave up my Shoe Shinning business and went back to doing the Big Issue which I could work around the hours of getting tests and treatment done.

So now I think it’s best because as a Big Issue Vendor I’m always out and about talking to homeless and people in need. So I keep seeing the need to help.

I am not homeless at the moment but I’m still allowed to sell the magazines because of my illness.

I still do my BBQ’s for the homeless and people in need and I look forward to sharing my stories with Bernie the Polite Girl as things go.

Written by Grant the Polite Guy