Susan Ford has been at Real Change for 10 years, and she has accomplished a lot during that time.
“I was the first woman vendor rep, and I think I was the first woman vendor of the year. I’ve done everything here,” she says.
Susan is a lifetime Washingtonian. She was born in Spokane and has been in the Seattle area for most of her life. Before she began selling Real Change, Susan worked in home health care for 20 years. She enjoyed the work but admitted, “You get burned out after a while.”
During an interview with Real Change, it became clear that Susan is a woman of few words. She likes to “keep things short and sweet.” Though she doesn’t talk more than she has to, Susan used to be a lot quieter. She credits Real Change with “bringing [her] confidence back.”
“It helped me grow,” she says. “When I first started selling, I thought nah, this isn’t for me. But I’ve been here ever since I got into it.”
A friend who has since passed away introduced Susan to Real Change. They became close, and Susan decided to try selling.
“The time just flew by,” she says. “I never thought I’d be here this long.”
Susan has sold the paper in the U District since she’s been at Real Change, and she loves her customers.
“They’re just so sweet,” she says. “They always ask about my mom. We’re all like family. I’ve lost a lot of them. One of them moved so she doesn’t work [in the U District] anymore. But she still calls me and sends me Christmas cards.”
She loves that her customers care about her, and she enjoys talking to them. She likes to educate them about homelessness.
Susan thinks that Real Change has only gotten better over time. She believes the paper is now more focused on issues of homelessness, which is a good thing.
“It’s a lot more informative now,” she says. “Before they would write only one article about homelessness and housing per week, but now [the paper] is a lot better at keeping up with these issues.”
When she isn’t selling Real Change, Susan spends a lot of time caring for her elderly mother. She’s been living with her mother for seven years. “[Mom] has good days and bad days. You basically just need to watch her. She’s pretty good, she just has some memory loss.”
For fun, Susan enjoys cooking and doing jigsaw and crossword puzzles. She’s also an avid reader. “Oh, I read all kinds of things,” she says. “All books, though I don’t like sci-fi very much.”
Susan wants people who read Real Change to know that she is approachable. “I’m friendly and I’m caring. I’m very interested in everybody.”
If you see her selling in the U District, be sure to say hello.
Susan is one of 300 active vendors selling Real Change. Each week a different vendor is featured. View previous vendor profiles. Check out the full November 15 issue.