Scott Wilson is Real Change’s resident hippie. Often sporting a button that reads “I’m Already Against the Next War,” Scott’s charm and insight cause him to be one of Real Change’s top sellers over the past six years.
Before Real Change, Scott worked “blue-collar jobs in shipyards,” and has lived in various places including Seattle, Alaska and California. After flare-ups with a heart condition and a car wreck in Alaska in 1991, Scott decided that he “had to see something different” and began selling Real Change.
Scott, a Seattle native, had heard about the paper when he was working around the shipyards.
He absolutely loves where he sells: the Metropolitan Market in West Seattle.
“[There are] lots of good people up there in West Seattle. I live in West Seattle. I was born there myself actually, lived about five, six blocks from where I’m selling the paper. So back full circle.”
Scott’s cheery disposition while selling the paper comes from knowing deep grief. His fiancée was killed in a car accident years ago, which shifted his worldview. He said she had given him “the gift of self.”
But more tragedy struck after he got past his grief.
“There was a whole string of deaths, I mean, late ’80s, early ’90s. Grandma, grandpa, couple cousins, my father, fiancée — which, I went through all that and was pretty tore up about a lot of it.”
His son died, as well. Now he puts more energy into the relationships he has.
“You’re not going to get back what was lost. It’s gone, you know?”
Because of his focus on fostering relationships, Scott chooses to sell only when he’s in a good mood, truly reflecting his aim to focus on the positive.
“The smile is genuine, you know. People say, ‘You’re always smiling, you make my day,’ and stuff, and I can’t fake that, you know? If I’m not in that space, I don’t work. I don’t go out and inflict that on people. There’s enough frowning out there, enough damnation in this damn nation to last a long damn time.”
Some recent health problems left Scott shaken up. In the hospital, he was technically dead for 15 minutes, but was revived by doctors and now is fueled by new inspiration to collate his wisdom into a singular source.
“If I ever write a book [about my life], I’m going to call it ‘The Attainment and Maintenance of Happiness.’ It’d be a collection of little things I’ve learned.
“Gratitude is so key to everything. If you’re not grateful, nothing’s gonna satisfy you. Be grateful for everything you get. Some of the worst things that happen in life have great purpose, and make us zig or zag or stop or pack up.”
Scott named his customers as a deep source of gratitude when he was recovering in the hospital. They would see him selling the paper, and slip him some extra money so that he could rest more: “They really came through for me as I was out there.”
Scott turned 60 this summer. He decided to “keep things spontaneous. You make plans, and plans get trashed, and something’ll happen, and plans are messed up then you’re boohooing about it, and I try to avoid those traps, just go with the flow, go with the universe. Like I said, everything’s got purpose, and you might not see it at the moment.”
Spoken like a true hippie.
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