A lot can happen in a year. A lot has happened in a year.
March 2020 was one of the most chaotic months this country has seen as, bit by bit, the nation was shutdown.
Australians overseas were asked to come home, borders were effectively closed to the world, and the shutters came down on businesses across the country.
Those decisions would put hundreds of thousands of people into unemployment queues.
The barista had been plunged out of work when restrictions to curb coronavirus meant his employer had to close.
On Tuesday, March 31, a week after the shutdowns, I met Troy outside a Centrelink in Canberra.
He was desperate for help.
There were about 20 people in the queue, standing 1.5 metres apart as Australians had become accustomed to.
I asked if anyone wanted to talk about what they were going through.
“Oh mate I’m flat broke eh,” he told me.
Troy had just $30 to his name and no income.
“I already used the last payment I got to pay for rent and some stuff. Now it’s gone I’m up for another week’s rent. Yeah man, it’s hard,” he said.
This was the stark reality of what was happening and thousands of others had a story like Troy’s and were in the depths of despair.
Help wasn’t immediate, and Troy feared losing his place in a rental property.
He emerged from Centrelink empty handed and wondering what to do next.
And the government had to act. Those put out of work would receive a supplement.
Job Seeker became worth about $1100 a fortnight.
Troy was one of the 1.5 millions Australians to benefit.
He doesn’t need the payment anymore.
As of a fortnight ago, Troy Bayley is employed full time, one of the 88,000 jobs which returned to the economy in February.
Troy still makes coffee, his success is brewing at a cafe in Canberra.
Pasticceria Amelia is home.
“Now I get up and go to work not get up and look for work,” he tells me.
Ben McDonald, and his aunt Dora Hernandez have opened more than their business to Troy.
“He’s become one of the family. We welcomed him from day one. He’s a good guy, we’re very happy to have him,” he says.
And Troy is happy to have them.
“Bosses are great most customers are repeat customers lovely people. It’s really good. I come in and have a laugh with the customers. It’s rgeat its not all super serious,” he said.
It’s not just work giving Troy a reason to smile, he now has a car and has become engaged to his girlfriend of about a year.
“Things are on the rise,” he tells me.
The change in Troy is profound.
I’ve kept in touch with him throughout the last 12 months as he dealt with trying to find a home and a job, while at the same time the coronavirus supplement of his job seeker was being scaled back.
“The first six months, they felt like two years,” he says.
But Troy is now looking forward. He’s planning his wedding.
For Troy, life is greater than it was a year ago.
And that’s the way life should be.