This week's vendor has been around the block. "I've worked in sugar factories, I've worked in bakeries, I've worked in slaughterhouses, I've worked in tanneries, I've worked in canneries, I've worked in fertilizer factories, I've worked in mobile home factories, I've picked apricots, and I've weeded asparagus," he says, "I've worked in the fields and factories."
And he's getting too old for that kind of work now, which is what initially attracted him to selling the paper. A vendor for the past six to seven years, Fred loves his job. "I enjoy selling Real Change because it gives me the chance to talk to strangers," he laughs, "and I'll tell you what -- when you're having a good time, it flies."
If you know Fred, you also know that he's an avid reader of classic literature and a dedicated country-music enthusiast. Whether it's in the office or at his selling spot, you can always hear him singing a country tune -- a sound unfamiliar and perhaps a bit startling to many Seattleites. Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr.: you name it, Fred digs that country twang. And he's probably read every John Steinbeck novel, no kidding.
To his customers and the world he says, "You belong to me, and believe it or not, I belong to you, too."
You can find him singing and selling the paper at the corner of Second and Madison outside the Starbucks, so be sure to go and show him your support. He likes an audience.