There’s a saying that if you give a man a fish, he can eat for a day.
But if you teach that man to fish, he can eat for a lifetime.
That particular saying came to life when businessman James Minn met Ryan Davidson, 25, on the street one day in an encounter that would change both men’s lives.
The 40-year-old Minn was celebrating his 15th wedding anniversary and was with his wife and two friends when Davidson approached him asking for some spare change.
Instead, Minn decided to talk to Davidson and find out more about him. When he found out that Davidson had been jobless for three years, Minn decided to take a chance on him and offered him a job as a laborer at his powder coating firm instead.
The overjoyed Davidson couldn’t believe his luck and accepted immediately.
“James was walking past me, so I asked him for spare change.
“He stopped and seemed like a genuine, nice guy.
“We chatted for a while and then he said he had a company and could offer me a job – I couldn’t believe it.”
When Minn posted what he did on Facebook, thousands of people reacted immediately.
Ian Joy commented: “Been there once before many years ago and it’s not often people like you James that has given this kid the opportunity to get his life sorted into a job for a great company and team hope he turns up for you mate total respect to you.”
“Top gesture from a top bloke. Well done James. It’s a shame more people don’t do the same,” John Cummings wrote.
Someone named Nicola Graham-Tait added: “What a lovely smiley face he has, I hope he does turn up and uses the opportunity to turn his life around.
“Well done Jimmy – to be in a position to help someone is such a reward.”
There was a slight hiccup, however, when Davidson failed to report for work on the first day of his job.
Milkman Ian Cutts had volunteered to pick Davidson up at 6:30 AM but the homeless man never showed up.
Initially, Minns was “gutted” but later found out that Davidson had to attend an emergency housing appointment but didn’t have enough credits on his phone to inform him.
Davidson made up for it by showing up on time next day, Tuesday. And this time, he proved to Minns that he made the right decision in hiring him.
Minns added, “He is getting the break that he deserves. I’m not bothered by his past. I just want him to move forward.
“I’ve always been interested in how people end up in that situation. I just got talking to him and he seemed like a genuinely nice lad.
“I asked him, ‘if someone offered you a job would you take it?’ He said, ‘1,000 percent I would,’ so I offered him one. It isn’t just about a job. It is amazing what else can come from it.
“He is an amazing man. I’m lucky to have found him. He is a grafter which is hard to come by these days. I believe he will keep this up. He is doing all of the right things.”
Davidson, who is from Newcastle, said, “I feel so lucky. Just days ago I was sat on the streets trying to make enough money to get something to eat and now I’ve got a job and I’m looking for a flat.
“It has been absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome.”