"He's a member of our community," the store manager says.
And she means it. Micheal has a relationship with his customers that most ordinary salespersons couldn't possibly dream of: he knows nearly everyone by first name, and everyone knows him. And he's not just a newspaper vendor. He's also a friend and neighbor; Micheal frequented the Starbucks near 130th and Aurora months before ever selling Real Change.
"A lot of my customers get concerned when they haven't seen me," Micheal says while sipping a cup of coffee. We sit inside from the cold for our interview, where he introduces me to friends, customers, and staff.
"He's all right," an older gentleman teases, loud enough to be overheard, "I don't mind putting up with him."
Micheal proudly displays his Real Change papers near a table for coffee-drinkers to peruse while he sells at the drive-thru. He donates a few papers each week for people to read, and always makes certain that the store manager gets her copy.
"The staff here are great," he says.
And to his customers: "Thank you for so much."
You can find Micheal at the Starbucks -- Wed. - Sun. -- selling the paper, drinking coffee, and spending time with friends. So if you're in the area and want to hit the drive-thru, be sure to give him your support.
"But seriously." The older man stops me as I get up to leave. "He's a good guy."