Vendor of the Week: Glen Ridgeway (Real Change News — Seattle)

December 15, 2010


Photo by: Joe Chitty, Contributing Writer

On the morning of Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina rolled through Biloxi Miss., with 120-mph winds pushing a 27-ft. storm surge that swept away cars, homes, businesses and roads. But not Glen Ridgeway.

“I moved to higher ground when the water was up around my neck,” Ridgeway recalled.

During the next 14 hours, eight to 10 inches of rain fell on the city. Then the surge water receded and washed out what little was left into the sea.

More than 50,000 people lost their homes, jobs and everything they owned.

“It’s a miracle that I survived that storm,” Ridgeway said. “There was a bunch of folks that didn’t.”

Glen eventually made his way out of the Gulf Coast and came to Seattle looking for work as a carpenter.

“It wasn’t easy even after I got here,” he said. “It was tough finding work, and while I was looking for a job, I lost everything that I had when I couldn’t keep up the rent on a bus station locker.”

Glen eventually found work; and after a while he was hanging drywall, and doing O.K. But one day he fell from a ladder and broke his elbow.

“That was it. I couldn’t ever go back to that kind of work, and it took a long time to heal up. But, you know, it was actually a blessing in disguise. After I was in the respite I was able to get housing, and with what I make selling Real Change, I’m getting by pretty good. I’m not very hard to please. It don’t take much to make me happy. I have to thank all my Real Change customers, because without them I could be in pretty rough shape. I’ve got a good place to sell the paper, even a roof to keep the rain off.”

Glen sells Real Change on 4th Avenue and Weller, which is the covered pedestrian viaduct to King Street Station.

“I’m more of a people person than I ever thought I would be, and I’ve got Real Change to thank for that. I have to say, after Katrina and all that, I’m just happy to be alive.”

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Posted by on Jan 5 2011. Filed under Image Gallery, Vendor of the Month. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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