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Worldwide Vendor Spotlight: Antonio Carlino

 Street News Service 16 May 2019

He's now 54 years old, "too old," says Antonio Carlino and smiles. Well, he wouldn’t consider himself too old for anything. He’s talking about the employment office, potential employers; they’ve considered him to be too old for ages. As a result, Mr. Carlino doesn’t get any more work, not even a temporary job. Which is why he's now a vendor for German street paper Strassenkreuzer. Ilse Weiß shares his story. (521 Words) - By Ilse Weiß

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Strassenkreuzer 1

 Courtesy of Strassenkreuzer

Antonio Carlino has laid cable and drilled deep, a tough, dirty but respectable job. Since last autumn he's sold Strassenkreuzer, a clean job. Nevertheless, Antonio Carlino was shy at first because it's hard to reveal himself as poor but very creditable.

He's now 54 years old, "too old," says Antonio Carlino and smiles. Well, he wouldn't consider himself too old for anything. He's talking about the employment office, potential employers. They've considered him to be too old for ages. As a result, Mr. Carlino doesn't get any more work, not even a temporary job. At least this way, Antonio Carlino doesn't get broken, tired or worn out. His hands are hard and calloused, but as soon as he smiles, his brown eyes twinkle.

If good-natured meant that someone would be of great courage, then Antonio Carlino is very good natured. He was already, when he arrived from Sicily in Nuremberg with his now deceased parents in 1970. "I was always in the building trade," he says, and declaring at the same time that he always wanted to earn his own money, but he remained semi-skilled and his command of German was poor, so he was among those easiest to replace when things weren't going so well on the building site.

Nuremberg from below

For 30 years everything went quite well. Antonio Carlino knows Nuremberg, especially from below. Public works, cable laying, he felt comfortable doing that. Then he lost his job again. He looked for another job for one and a half years and time was running out for him. He finally joined a scheme working as a kitchen porter in the warm shelter, that's all there was.

Through the warm shelter, Carlino came into contact with the Strassenkreuzer sales department and sellers. Last September, he submitted his unemployment benefit supporting documents to be able to register as a seller then he got the first issues for 70 cents each, and stood on the street.

"The first time you have to get over it," says Antonio Carlino. "But the people there were so nice, and then it got easier."

Especially an old lady with a bicycle he remembers, the time she praised him for his courage. This builds up. "Why should I hide?" He asks. "Then you get nothing, you have to go out in life."

He's doing just that. In the middle of the city centre, near the ship of fools, Mr. Carlino often sells starting at 8:30 until around 17.00, depending on how business goes.

In the big Italian ice cream parlours he can use the toilet, one of the waiters will then watch out for his issues. It may be that the countrymen have a heart for Antonio Carlino.

And the customers too. Mr. Carlino sells so consistently that he would soon like to be an established seller. Then he wouldn't have to depend entirely on state benefits at least. "I want to go my own way in peace," he says. To turn an honest penny is to have an outlook.

"54 isn't old age, for employers it is but not for me. What the heck."

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