In November former trash collector Rob Shoesmith made international headlines by camping for ten days outside an Apple store in London to ensure he was amongst the first to get his hands on a brand new iPhone 4S.
Today he is set to make headlines once more…but this time he is prepared to sell his £100,000 (US$161,000) home and give all the proceeds to a homeless charity.
But he has one little hurdle to jump first…he wants to get one million downloads of the book he has recently written about his Apple camping adventure.
“Bin There Done That” not only deals with his experiences of living on the streets of London for nearly two weeks but also deals with his long-running battle against anxiety and depression.
It is the first time he has ever spoken so openly and honestly about his illness which saw him drop out of university, turn to alcohol for comfort and even contemplate taking his own life by throwing himself into the path of a train.
He got to meet a number of homeless people while camped outside the Apple store in Covent Garden and hearing their stories made him realize that he too could have been among their number.
Rob, 30, said: “When I started writing my book about the Apple experience I realized that I had much more of a story to tell and I decided that I would write about my anxiety and depression.
“I had no idea how people would react and I was very nervous but everyone has been amazing and I have had a lot of people tell me that they have also battled with depression or are still living with it on a daily basis.
“Depression and homelessness are not subjects that get a huge amount of publicity so I wanted to play my part to help raise awareness about both issues.”
Rob, who now works for U.S. based apps development company MEDL Mobile, said offering to sell his home was not just a cynical publicity stunt.
He said: “I decided to aim for 1 million downloads to capture peoples’ attention and do something different.
“I want people to sit up and take notice which is why I said I would sell my home and give the money raised to a homeless charity if I reach the download target.
“Those who have read my book already have told me that it has inspired them and so I want to reach as large an audience as possible.
“I don’t want homelessness and depression to be the forgotten problems of society and if more people were able to talk about these issues openly then I think more would be done about helping tackle these problems.”