"I got started with Megaphone when I was panhandling in front of the IGA on Burrard. I was having a tough time looking for work and trying to make ends meet until cheque day. So far I really enjoy it.
"I‘ve had numerous people come up to me and say that they appreciate what I’m doing as opposed to just sitting there with a cup and a blanket. They think Megaphone is a positive thing. I’ve also met people from Australia, England and the United States. They told me about similar papers in their countries.
"I like the fact that I’m actually doing something to earn my money rather than begging. I think that it’s positive, it gives me some self-esteem and it also gives me the chance to interact with people and practice my social skills, which is important for work also.
"I’m originally from Montreal. Although I’m not French, I read, write and speak French. I got divorced and came out here to work in construction back in ’99. Something told me to ‘Go west, young man’.
"I was working in the construction industry prior to the Olympics and, unfortunately, since the Olympics, and the economy and everything, it’s been a little tight, but hopefully with the weather changing I will be able to secure some full time employment soon. But I will still sell Megaphones at night because I enjoy walking around in the evenings and interacting with people that way.
"I sell around Waterfront Station and Streamworks. I find it’s a good area. I compete with the panhandlers, but I’m starting to know a lot of the people who work around there and live there. I’m a people person and I love the feedback that I get. All in all it’s been a positive experience for me."
Joe sells Megaphone at Richards and Water streets.