A HOMELESS man who asked a kind-hearted stranger for spare change was handed a job instead - and he started this week.

Newcastle businessman James Minn, 40, handed Ryan Davidson, 25, 20 after he had asked for cash.

But after the two had talked for a short while, James offered Ryan a job with his paint-coating company.

Ryan said: "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."

James had been out celebrating his 15th wedding anniversary with his wife Victoria, 48, and two friends when he was approached by Ryan - who had been homeless and jobless for three years.

The businessman, from Washington, in Tyne and Wear, said: He is getting the break that he deserves. Im not bothered by his past. I just want him to move forward.

Ive 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 per cent I would, so I offered him one. It isnt just about a job. It is amazing what else can come from it.

He is an amazing man. Im 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.

Ryan, 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 Ive got a job and Im looking for a flat.

It has been absolutely amazing. I couldnt have been made to feel more welcome.

James then posted the news on his Facebook page on Thursday and it soon went viral.

"I logged into my Facebook on Friday and there were hundreds of notifications and thousands of friend requests - I couldn't believe it.

"Fingers crossed he takes the opportunity," posted one Facebook user. Another post read: "Our county needs more companies like you to believe in these people."

A photo of their first encounter has been shared more than 4,800 times and prompted 15,000 interactions.

Ryan's aunt was one of the people who saw the post and she provided a mobile phone number where he could be reached.

Milkman Ian Cutts even offered to drive Ryan to work on his first day.

But when Ian turned up at 6.30am on Monday as promised Ryan was nowhere to be seen.

James wrote on his Facebook page that he was "gutted" at the news.

But it transpired that Ryan had to attend an emergency housing appointment on Monday morning but had been unable to tell James as his phone had run out of credit.

He did though turn up first thing on Tuesday and all went well.

Ryan said: He is a top bloke. He told me that it is up to me to change my life and Ive got to pull my weight, which is totally understandable and fair. I cant believe that Ive been given this opportunity.

I really appreciate it. I definitely want to change my life. I dont know what normal is but I just want a normal life.