NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Part Christmas tree salesman, part movie star, he goes only by the name Francois.
The French-Canadian, who has been working the same corner of Broadway at 102nd Street for a decade, is featured in a new documentary made by two customers titled “Tree Man.”
“I think that this movie will make people understand a bit more (about) street workers,” Francois told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “We see them as part of the scenery. These people are the life. These people work hard.”
Francois leaves behind a wife and four small kids in Montreal each year to sell Fraser firs. The money, he says, is just too good to pass up.
“Maybe it’s going to sound weird to you, but I kind of found my place in the world in here also,” Francois said. “What you sell is it’s not milk, it’s not cereals. It’s a Christmas tree.”
Trailer from “Tree Man”
The neighbors have adopted him. They bring him food and gifts, including a recent bottle of Russian vodka.
“Here is my home sweet home for five weeks,” Francois said.