A young homeless man has been given what he's called a 'lifeline', after a stranger walked past one evening and offered him a job.
The stranger in question, James Minns, was out with his wife and friends celebrating his wedding anniversary on Thursday night. He came across 25-year-old Ryan and stopped to chat to him.
James told LADbible: "We were just walking along and stopped to speak to Ryan, who just seemed like a genuinely nice lad."
They talked about what Ryan had been through and how he had got to where he was, with Ryan explaining that he'd been out of work and homeless for three years.
"He hadn't had the best start in life, and he wanted to change things - you know, he didn't like being on the streets."
Ryan told him how it was tough because he couldn't get a job, at which point James asked: "Well if you were offered one would you want one?"
Ryan replied: "Yes, definitely."
Credit: James Minns
James continued: "I own my own business, so I told him where we worked as he was familiar with the area, and I just said 'I'll see you Monday morning'."
James then shared the news on Facebook, just to update friends about his chance encounter - not expecting any attention from it, writing: "Right so this kid (a beggar in Newcastle) has just told me he has been out of work and homeless for three years and he has no family.
"Me and Wez have just gave him £20 for a drink and food and I've have told him to turn up at my work 7am Monday morning. I hope he does cause what an opportunity it could be for this kid."
He told us: "Then obviously it just went absolutely mental. Through the power of social media I actually got a phone number for him - through a friend of a friend of a friend - so I called him up on Friday night."
James confirmed to Ryan that he really did want to offer him a job at his powder coating company. However, 'something came up' that meant he wasn't able to join him.
"It was something to do with an offer of accommodation, which is why he didn't end up coming in on Monday," James said.
"I was absolutely devastated to be quite honest with you," he added, explaining that he'd even arranged for a friend to go and pick Ryan up.
He wrote disappointedly on Facebook: "Morning everyone, unfortunately Ryan didn't show up. Ian Erniethemilkman Cutts was there at 6.30am to pick him up. Waited 30 mins and he didn't show. I've rang him several times and got no answer too. Totally gutted tbh."
But Ryan then got in touch with James and apologised, asking for another chance - which is what James gave him.
Sharing a photo on Facebook on Tuesday morning, James revealed that Ryan had turned up for his first day at work.
Credit: James Minns
He wrote: "Look who's here. First day at work for Ryan. Over the moon to see him. Hopefully the beginning of great things for him."
Since then, James has set up a JustGiving page for Ryan, and has also tried to sort out accommodation for him.
"He's just labouring at the moment. It's quite a labour-intensive job to be quite honest with you, so it's all hands-on. But he's doing absolutely great - he never stops, from the minute he comes in to the minute he goes home. He was even in 20 minutes early this morning!
"I've given him the money for his transport to get to and from work, then he'll get his first wages on Friday."
Ryan's mum even got in touch with James, and the two went for a coffee.
He continued: "I wanted to speak to his mum because I wanted to understand if she's alive, why has he been kicked out onto the streets? It just doesn't seem right, I could never imagine it.
"But we've all got our demons and our pasts - and whatever he's done in the past it's all about moving forward.
"I've opened the door and given him this opportunity - now it's up to him."
James added: "He's just a lovely, lovely lad"
James' business, where Ryan now works. Credit: Google Maps
Ryan, who has just turned 25, was born in Newcastle.
Ryan told LADbible: "I've got parents, but I only talk to my mum very occasionally - we don't get on at all to be honest, but we're still civil with each other."
Ryan explained that when he was younger he suffered an abusive childhood, with a stepdad that used to hit him. Eventually, he went into foster care.
"Looking back, it was the best thing for me, because it helped stabilise my life - I wasn't around violence anymore.
"But after foster care there was nothing, really. In my 20s, all the support went."
He tried to live with his mum, but didn't get on with her boyfriend, so he got kicked out about a year or two ago.
Having now been thrown some much-needed support from a stranger, Ryan's plan is to let James help him secure some accommodation, and to carry on grafting at work.
"I just want to keep my head down, and use this opportunity well," he said, referring to it as his 'lifeline'.
"I can't believe that I was on the streets begging for food, trying to find a place to stay for the night and then someone walks past and gives me an opportunity like this.
"If someone had told me a few weeks ago that this was where I'd be, I wouldn't have believed them.
"The chance that James has given me - he's an absolutely smashing lad. He is a proper, proper lovely lad."
Featured Image Credit: Supplied