Sometimes a simple exchange with a stranger on a street corner can change your life in unexpected ways.
James Minns had just finished celebrating his anniversary with his wife and friends in Newcastle, England, when he had one such conversation with a local homeless man named Ryan Davidson. James, who owns a paint-coating company in the city, says he was first drawn to Ryan due to his big, welcoming smile.
Ryan is 25, and he’s been homeless for the past two years. He explained that he asked James for some spare change, but instead of merely dropping some coins into Ryan’s outstretched cup, James “stopped and seemed like a genuine, nice guy.”
James handed Ryan a £20 note, then asked him a few friendly questions about his life on the streets, and what lead him to become homeless. Ryan explained that he’d lost contact with his family, and had been out of work for three years.
Ever the businessman, this comment got the wheels in James’ head turning. “If you were offered a job, would you take it?” James asked. “100%,” Ryan replied.
“We chatted for a while and then he said he had a company and could offer me a job — I couldn’t believe it,” Ryan said. James told Ryan to show up for work on Monday morning at 7 a.m. The men shook on their new arrangement, and both went their separate ways feeling like they’d accomplished something wonderful.
After James shared a photograph of himself with Ryan, along with an explanation of what had happened, the post went viral. People from all over were touched by James’ act of philanthropy and kindness, and they hoped it would give Ryan the support he’d been lacking to get back on his feet again.
A local milkman even stepped up to offer Ryan a ride to work on Monday! It seemed that everything was clicking into place, but then the story took a sad and disappointing turn.
Ryan’s fans were sorely disappointed, but never fear! The very next day, the young man did turn up at James’ office.
“Look who’s here,” James wrote with a new selfie. “First day at work for Ryan. Over the moon to see him. Hopefully the beginning of great things for him.”
The story goes that Ryan had been forced to attend an emergency housing appointment on Monday morning. He tried to call James to tell him, but his cell phone had run out of credit.
Now that Ryan is gainfully employed, he says he couldn’t be happier with his new gig. “I love my job and everybody has made me feel so welcome,” he said. “We’re like one big happy family.”
James wasn’t finished helping Ryan out, either. He started a crowdfunding campaign to help Ryan afford permanent housing. (As of this writing, it’s raised 400% of the goal amount!) Ryan says that having James as a benefactor has not only changed his current circumstances, but it’s changed his entire vision of the world and the people in it.
“It has opened my eyes to how generous and kind people can be. I’ve never met anyone like James. He has changed my life completely.”
Way to go, James! It takes courage to be this open-hearted, and we wish more people would open their eyes to the homeless and ask what they can do to help others get off the streets and back to leading productive lives.
Please share this message of love and generosity to encourage others to give openly to others whenever possible.
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