A homeless man is reportedly due to start work in an upmarket Manchester restaurant thanks to an off chance encounter with its owner and chef.
Gary Usher, who owns six restaurants in the north west of England, said he was leaving a shift at Kala restaurant on Saturday night when he bumped into the man, who asked him for money.
Usher tweeted: “Made up! Leaving Kala last night about midnight in my chef jacket and got talking to a homeless guy. He asked me for cash and I didn’t have any and there wasn’t a cash point anywhere. As I walked off he shouted Mate, got any jobs!?
“I walked back to him and said FUCKING RIGHT I DO…”
A period of negotiation ensued and the man, now identified as ‘Derick’, has reportedly agreed to return to the restaurant to take on some work cleaning and preparing food.
A day later Usher tweeted that a “clean-shaven, smart-looking, very nervous man” had arrived for interview.
The 37-year-old chef said: “He starts Wednesday. He was fucking buzzing. I’m buzzing. I’ve been offering jobs to people on the streets for 10 years. Derick is the first person in that time to turn up.”
Both Usher and his potential employee been overwhelmed by support and good wishes from the public on social media.
One user tweeted: “More people should take a chance on the homeless. Now he is getting some hard-earned respect with money he earns which will improve his mental health and that part is priceless really. We all deserve a chance and we could all end up homeless so it’s wise to help where you can.”
Another said: “You might have just changed someone’s life! That’s a pretty cool thing. Respect!”
“This is beautiful. Kindness is a commodity we all need to cling to,” tweeted Patsy Lindsay.
Since then, the chef has been asking for help on social media so that he can add his new employee to the payroll, given Derick may have no social security details or address.
Independent MP for Grantham and Stamford Nick Boles intervened offering assistance. He tweeted: “If you run into any problems and need advice or help dealing with the bureaucracy, please email me.”
Homeless charity Barnabus also chipped in with an offer of help, saying: “We’d love to help put the final jigsaw pieces together for this amazing man.”
Usher later revealed Derick’s daughter had also made contact with him to say her father had called her to discuss the job offer and that she had strongly encouraged him to attend.
“I’ve just called her and seriously I don’t think I’ll have a better day in 2019,” he said.
Usher has declined to speak to the press directly about the incident, explaining: “It’s going to be enough pressure starting a new job whilst having no address to then be told by one of your colleagues you’re in the paper too. Let’s just chill and be happy with the nice vibes on here.”
A spokesman for homeless charity Crisis told HuffPost UK: “It’s great to see employers offering people who are homeless the chance to build their skills and confidence through a secure job, which is often a key step to leaving homelessness behind for good.
“We see all too often the difficulties that follow a job offer when it comes to practical issues like setting up salary payment. With no fixed address, and limited formal ID documents, opening a bank account can be hugely challenging for someone who is homeless.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution as everyone’s situation is different, which is why we encourage anyone who is homeless in the areas we operate to come to us for help – or approach your local council for support.
“Although all high street banks are legally required to provide accounts for everyone, their requests for proof of identification or address can make it near impossible for people who are homeless. We know that some banks are working hard to improve access to bank accounts, but we must see all banks doing the same, and with more urgency to prevent people being financially excluded and at greater risk of homelessness.
“And in the long term, it’s vital that the government do what it takes to end homelessness once and for all so that issues like this become a thing of the past.”