Are you from Nashville?
I am originally from Springfield, Tenn., but I moved to Nashville in 1992. Springfield got old because there weren’t really any jobs, and all my family moved to Nashville so I came with them when I was 22.
How much has Nashville changed?
I have been in Nashville for 23 years, and it has changed a lot since I got here, but I think it has changed for the better. There’s much more help and housing for the homeless now. Nashville is a beautiful city with a lot of good people. I love it.
What caused you to experience homelessness
The loss of my mother. She passed on Sept. 14, 2005, at 4:08 a.m. She’s in a better place now. She’s looking down on me. I truly believe that. But when she passed, depression set in really bad. The loss of my mother affected me deeply, and I turned to alcohol to cope with it. I lost jobs, lost my home and became homeless. I was homeless for about two and a half years. I tried staying at the mission, but it wasn’t my cup of tea, so I would stay on the streets, in abandoned houses — wherever I could sleep.
How did you get out of that situation?
I turned to God. I prayed to God more than I ever had before and got back into church, got involved and God opened the doors and made a way for me. I have two sisters and along with their guidance too, I am now paying for housing.
What advice would you give to people who have struggled with depression?
Don’t ever give up hope. Always seek God first, and allow him to move and direct you. Open up your heart, and ask for help. If you have any siblings or church members or good friends that you can go to, talk to them. You may even need to get some counseling, but make sure you get into church deeply. And know that it’ll get better. God is good. I love Him. His spirit has touched my heart. I’ve got a lot of gratitude. Things might get bad, but God always fixes it and always makes a way. No matter what you may be going through or how you feel today, if you just turn to Him, He’ll help you out. I know He will.
What do you think people don’t understand about homelessness?
They think that every homeless person is homeless because of alcohol and drugs. And that’s not the case. You could be laid off from a job or lose a mother or a father. It’s all kinds of reasons that you can become homeless, not just because of alcohol or drugs. Some people tend to look down on the homeless, think they’re in a higher class, but we’re all equal in God’s eyes. No matter if you’re rich or poor, living in the biggest house or no house at all – God made us all.
When did you start selling The Contributor?
Ever since 2010, I’ve been selling in Hillsboro. I love it over there.
Where do you sell?
I work at 24th and Blakemore in the mornings. I have another area too at Thompson and Brassford.
Do you have regular customers?
I have nothing but regular customers and they are the best people I have ever met in my life. I love them for what they do for me.
Do you like selling The Contributor?
I love it. I’ve got the best friends at 24th and Blakemore, so I wouldn’t want to stop selling it. It’s always me and God out there. When He works through me, I smile and wave. Not everybody’s gonna buy that paper, but it teaches me to be consistent and patient.
What do you do when you’re not selling papers?
I try to go to different meetings, church, hang with family, enjoy life.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to travel. I would like to become more active in my church. I’d like to own my own home one day. I’d like to be married. I’m growing stronger with Christ. I want to be truly that godly man, that’s part of my future. To help out others who are in need. To give back to society because they surely have given to me. I would like to counsel people struggling with depression or alcohol or drugs, whatever the case may be.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your customers or readers of The Contributor?
First of all, thank you. 24th and Blakemore, my customers you’re the best. If it wasn’t for you I don’t know what I would have done. For those of you who buy the paper from me, I’m praying for you. For those who don’t buy the paper, I’m praying for you too. I’m just grateful to have met such beautiful loving people. You’re all awesome. God is really working in my life. I truly am grateful today. I’m not where I need to be, but I’m truly grateful that I’m not where I used to be. God makes a way for me by touching the customers’ hearts. I see God out there through their actions, by their welcoming smiles and waves.