Marvin Gnad's a comedian. Seriously, just ask any of his customers; he has quite the repertoire.
That's because, in addition to selling Real Change, Marvin practices his material on a near daily basis, and he gets more than a few laughs. He's even become a local celebrity, performing for bar-goers at night and Pike Place Market tourists during the day.
But it's not just his jokes that have earned him his reputation. Marvin truly cares about his customers, and they care about him too. "If they ever needed my help, I'd be there," Marvin says. "And it seems like whenever I need help, they seem to be there too."
Such as, for instance, during the holidays, when Marvin was invited to numerous homes to share in the celebration: "They made me feel like part of their family."
Everyone has problems, Marvin explains, and everyone needs support, homeless or not. That's why he tells his jokes. "People who walk by here have problems too. I help them out with theirs, and they help me with mine."
After all, Marvin's had his share. A few years ago he worked full-time as chef at Alki Bakery and was doing pretty well for himself. Then, his health went bad. "And I mean really bad," Marvin says. Fibromyalgia, melanoma, rheumatoid arthritis: the list goes on. The pain was just too much to bear while working the line.
Unable to pay the rent, Marvin hit the streets, homeless for nearly three years -- until last month.
"It's just so nice to finally have a bed," Marvin says of his recent move.
And to his customers, he says, "Thank you for putting up with me, even on my bad days!"
You can find Marvin selling Real Change at First and Virginia throughout the week, so be sure to give him your support. Expect a few good laughs in the process, because he can go all day.