Big Issue vendor Karl Lamsdale has returned to his pitch in Birmingham city centre less than five months after a suspected hit-and-run left him in a five-week coma.
Karl, also known as Bubble, has become the city’s first Big Issue seller to be allowed to use a chair as he continues to recover from the extensive injuries that left him in hospital for 92 days.
The 52-year-old has taken up his usual spot outside Snow Hill Station.
Talking to Birmingham Live about his return to work, Karl said: “Even though I wasn’t there long [on the first day], the number of people who came up to me in the morning was phenomenal – I spent more time talking than selling!”
Jon Hyde, Birmingham team leader for The Big Issue, said: “It’s great to have him back.
“It’s obviously early days, and we’re taking it a step at a time. He worked on Thursday and Friday and then over the weekend, so we’re just seeing how it goes.
“All the locals and his regulars seem happy to see him. When he disappeared from his pitch we had loads of people contacting us to see what had happened, he’s such a fixture there.
“The chair has been provided by the manager of the train station, and they’re happy to keep it for him and look after him.”
Bubble suffered a fractured spine and pelvis in the accident, as well as breaking his hip, shoulder and ankle and nine ribs. He had an emergency operation, where his heart stopped once, and he suffered another heart attack immediately after surgery.
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He told The Big Issue in March: “I saw God, and he told me that he wasn’t going to buy The Big Issue off me, and that I should piss off!”
Bubble, who has been selling The Big Issue for 18 years, then spent five weeks in a coma, and also underwent a tracheotomy.
West Midlands Police told The Big Issue in March: “Enquiries are continuing into a non-stop collision in Hockley in January, which left a 51-year-old man with life-threatening injuries.”
A spokesman added: “The offending car has been recovered and a 21-year-old man has been voluntarily interviewed.”
The case has now been referred to the CPS.