Isac, Sainsbury’s, High Street, Northallerton

Isac has dreams of starting his own business, so he's using the proceeds of his sales to save up for a car

I’ve been selling the magazine on and off for the last two years. I started selling recently, to be honest, because I lost my job – I was doing some construction work five months ago and it didn’t go well. I wanted to do something. I didn’t want to be waking up thinking that I didn’t have a job. 

I started on this pitch two Christmases ago. I always come back to it. I’m very happy to be here but I do want it to be busier. I have a good relationship with the staff at Sainsbury’s – even when it rains, they let me stay inside. I live in Darlington and I love it there.

The Big Issue recently helped me with a voucher to get a new pair of glasses because my old ones were scratched. It was a great feeling to get that help because I know they are very expensive and it cut the price down. 

I was happy Big Issue was looking out for me. I have a card reader now and that helped me quite a lot too. I want people to know I have a card reader because a lot of people don’t.

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I always talk nicely to my customers and I’m very polite. I’m always smiling. Even if people are nasty to me, I always say thank you because I’m a Christian. I’m a positive guy. I enjoy that people come to talk to you on your pitch and give you some time. They ask about your story and how your day has been. It really feels like they care.

I grew up as a good kid with a good family in Middlesbrough. I grew up in church as my father is a pastor. When I was 16 or 17 I got in with a bad crowd and I wasn’t who I wanted to be. My dad didn’t like what I was doing, and at 18 I left the house. I was working every day at Amazon, working in pizza shops, things like that. I was making so much money before, but I wasn’t enjoying life. I enjoy it now because I found Jesus.

I believe we have to be good to everyone. It doesn’t matter if they hate you or they batter you, you have to be nice. Five months ago I was going down a dark path and one day Jesus knocked on my door and said, Isac, I want you back here with me. Since then, I’ve seen a big change in my life with everything. I’m getting baptised this month and things are going very well.

Away from my pitch, I enjoy playing ping-pong. I can’t say I’m a champion, but nobody can stand with me on the table when they play me. I’ve also just started learning guitar. I’ve only been doing it for a week and my fingers hurt but I don’t want to give up. We are doing a Christian troupe at church.

I also like to go and walk my dog, Ricky. He’s a Labrador crossed with a running dog and I’ve had him for four years – since he was a tiny puppy. He doesn’t come to my pitch though. He’s quite lively. If I took him, he wouldn’t sit down. He’d be licking every person that went by.

I want to set up my own business in the next six months. My business is going to be in cleaning. I’ve done a bit of that kind of work before. The important thing I need is to be able to drive a van. 

I’m about to have my practical test so I’m putting this money I’m making with The Big Issue towards a car. That’s my main goal and it’s going to make things much easier.

Interview: Liam Geraghty

Sainsbury's, High Street, Northallerton, UK

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