The art of the story
„Hearing is strange“
The story of
Hello Jens, how did you end up at Hinz&Kunzt?
Jens: Well, I’ve been with Hinz&Kunzt for about 10-15 years now. I started as a salesman and did several areas, like Othmarschen and so on. Mainly I come from Bremerhaven. That’s where I grew up. But I was born in North Rhine-Westphalia in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. And then, as you can imagine, there were a few problems with my mother. First I was hard of hearing as a baby until I was ten years old. And then I got smallpox tubes. We did an operation. After which I could hear again. That was very strange. And then we lived in different places. We moved around a lot. It wasn’t very pleasant with my father, because he was an alcoholic and he used to beat us. A year later, I started selling Hinz&Kunzt because Jens Adel, the former managing director, asked me if I wanted to sell newspapers. Sure, why not, I could give it a try. So then I made a living, my allowance, so to speak.
Prior to Hinz&Kunzt you had to live on the street for several years. How did that make you feel?
Jens: I had been living on the street for ten years, at Karstadt in Mönckebergstraße opposite the cinema. Of course, I always did that with Karstadt’s permission. Of course, first I asked if I was allowed to. And then they said, “Yes, sure, as long as you keep your place clean and keep it clean when you leave. Then you can stay as long as you want, that’s no problem.” And that’s what I did, of course. I didn’t use alcohol or drugs, after all. Even when I lived on the street, that was always a no-go for me. And I always drank my coffee in the evening. That was my substitute for alcohol or drugs.
Yes, and since I have been living here, in the house, I have also started to stop my gambling addiction. I had a gambling addiction. I’ve now locked myself out of casinos. Absolutely everywhere. I can’t get in anywhere anymore. At first, I thought about going to therapy, but I don’t need it. As long as I’m here at Hinz&Kunzt selling my newspaper, I don’t need therapy. I sell my newspaper and then I go home in the evening. What I didn’t do before. I sold my newspaper back then and the first place I went was to the gambling hall.
Selling newspapers definitely makes me happy. I’m among people. And I get to know new people. And most of them are older people who are alone, too. They sit down next to you and then they give you a cup of coffee and say, “Come on, let’s have a chat.” And they tell their stories from the past and so on.
Isolation took a particular toll on you, you said.
Jens: You get lonely when you don’t have a lot of contacts. As I was also a loner. I didn’t share my sleeping place on the street with anyone else or anything. I didn’t want that either. That’s why I looked for a place with a lot of traffic and a lot of buses going by and/or police. Besides, Hinz&Kunzt is like a family.
If you don’t have anything, you can go to Hinz&Kunzt, have a coffee, talk to the staff and so on. I am also very good friends with many of the staff. I also have a very good friend who blogs with Dominic. I’m sure you guys know him. The one who did the shower bus.
Thanks for the glimpse into your life story, Jens.
Jens: It was my pleasure.