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Vasile Raul Stefan, 20, outside WHSmith, Droitwich Spa

“I was impressed by how well The Big Issue was going for my friend, so I tried it too”

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I’ve been selling The Big Issue for five months. A friend of mine has been selling the magazine for two or three years, and he told me he was making a decent income and enjoyed it more than working in a factory because he could choose his own hours. He also said it was good for developing sales skills. I was impressed by how well it was going for him so I thought I’d like to try it too.

I have a good pitch here in Droitwich and my customers are very kind. They look out for me, offering me a cup of coffee or something to eat, so I try to help them if I can. Today I helped an old lady into a taxi with her shopping. I look out for them because they look out for me. If I’m not on my pitch for a couple of days they’re asking where I’ve been and if I’m OK.

My customers are very kind. They look out for me, offering me a cup of coffee or something to eat, so I try to help them if I can

Selling the magazine has helped me with my English. Before I started I didn’t know much of the language but now it’s really improved. I like to interact with customers and socialise and all this is good for learning the language.

I’ve been in the UK for two years now. I came over with my mother to earn money because it was really difficult to get work in Ialomita in eastern Romania, which is where I’m from. I worked in construction but only from time to time. Neighbours used to ask me to help out with a job and I would work for them. But it was really hard to find enough of that type of work to get by. I enjoy selling The Big Issue much more.

My mother and I live in Birmingham. My father had to stay in Romania with my grandparents because they’re old and needed him to stay and look after them. We miss him a lot. I also left my dogs behind with my father when I came here. They’re German shepherds called Rita and Max and I’ve had them since I was a very small child.

But I like it here in the UK and for now I enjoy selling The Big Issue. The work is much better and I enjoy interacting with my customers. They really care about me. Three ladies who buy from me were watching me having my picture taken for this, waving and smiling.

If I won the lottery… I would help poor people in this country and I’d also go to Romania and start a Romanian Big Issue. But I’d be the boss.

My hobbies… I love going to the gym. I run and I also lift weights. I like using Facebook as well to keep in touch with my friends and family.

On my pitch… I’m here Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30am until 5pm

Photo: Martin Strivens 

WHSmith, Victoria Square, Droitwich, UK