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From homeless Rotorua windscreen washer to commercial cleaner
November 3, 2020
He used to clean the windscreens of people’s cars at traffic lights to make a few bucks, now the former Rotorua homeless man is cleaning windows for a real job.
Brian “Bam Bam” Mollgaard wasa familiar sight either sitting on footpaths with an upturned cap politely begging for money or cleaning windscreens of cars stopped at traffic lights for coins.
But thanks to a Rotorua window cleaning business owner, Bam Bam now has a job and a fresh outlook on life.
The 57-year-old spent three years living rough on the streets. Things started to look up a few years ago when he found love with a woman who was also homeless and the pair were helped into their first home.
They made national headlines in 2016 when the Rotorua community rallied around them to donate their dream wedding.
Still married and still living in their home, times were still pretty tough financially and Bam Bam would top up his benefit by sitting at his local shopping centre with a hat.
Then along came Andy Munroe from AA Rotorua Glass Cleaners.
“He said to me how about you earn some real money,” Bam Bam told the Rotorua Daily Post.
“He took me under his wing and it’s been great.”
The Rotorua Daily Post caught up with Bam Bam when he came into the NZME offices on Hinemoa St with his workmate to clean the windows.
“I’ve even given up the smokes,” he said. “I’ve got my smell and taste back too.”
Munroe told the Rotorua Daily Post Bam Bam would always try to clean his windows at the Westend traffic lights on Malfroy Rd.
“I would always say ‘nah mate, we are window cleaners’.”
A few months ago, he saw Bam Bam sitting outside shops at the Te Ngae Shopping Centre.
“I said to him ‘how’s it bro, what are you doing here?’ and he told me he would sit there most of the day and people would give him coins and that was enough to buy milk and bread.
“So I said to him ‘how about you get off your butt and I will give you a real job’ … His eyes lit up.”
Munroe said giving Bam Bam a chance was his way of giving back to someone who had had a rough time.
He said Bam Bam was given a uniform and had been a casual employee for about four months.
“As he gets a lot more experienced and we get busier, he will get more hours and I will put him on a permanent contract.”
He said Bam Bam had already proved himself.
“They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but I think that’s wrong. He is definitely learning a lot.”