As she sits across the table from me with a sparkle in her eyes, ready for the interview to commence, April's disposition is calm and relaxed. She has sold the paper for almost two years, all of which she has enjoyed, she said. April hails from Seattle, where she has lived her entire life. She believes in the message behind Real Change and sells the paper with that in mind.
"We must always remember these are important voices and stories," she said.
This pride in her product gives her pride in her position. "I don't want to be looked at like a charity case," she said. "Selling the paper is a job."
It's one she does well. While talking to her it is easy to see that April uses her heart when selling the paper. She consistently sells about 600 papers a month.
April's sales have curtailed a bit due to other important commitments in her life. One of these is her little Chihuahua, Li'l Killer, who was given to her last year as a Christmas present from an appreciative customer. Li'l Killer is "the most beautiful gift that I have ever gotten," April said. She cannot imagine life without her little buddy at her side.
In all, April considers 2011 to have been a great year selling the paper, caring for herself and caring for others.
This was not always the case. There was a period of time in April's life when she was addicted to cocaine. It all came to a head in 2008 when April suffered a massive heart attack.
"I realized that this was going to be the end of me if I didn't change what I was doing," April said. "I decided that that was not the way that I wanted to end up, I was ready to quit."
She got clean and has remained so. Now, three-and-a-half years later, doctors say she no longer has a heart condition.
April credits exercise with helping her make changes in her life.
"Water aerobics gives me more mobility. It is a stress-reliever, it keeps me going, it gives me energy, and it has helped with my health," she said.
She has also found joy in interacting with all of her customers.
"I have another family now. You get attached to different people in different places." April has connected with many different people through her sales. She has used Real Change as an outlet to build relationships.
April plans to continue to sell the paper for the foreseeable future, in all types of conditions. She prides herself on being "the vendor that will bring you your papers faithfully, whether it's 30 degrees or whether it's 100 degrees."
Come by 22nd and Madison, where April sells the paper and you, too, may be charmed by her kindness, patience and lovely attitude.
Who knows, you may even have the opportunity to meet "Li'l killer."