One Kind Gesture Helped Homeless Man Turn His Life Around
A little over a year ago, 58-year old Phil Webb was homeless and battling alcoholism after his marriage fell apart and he lost his job. But one kind gesture from a man he’d never met before turned out to be life changing for the former member of the British Army.
Webb was living on the streets in the city of Carlisle in northern England when a personal trainer and former military sniper named Stephen Finlayson walked past him. Finlayson’s willingness to step in and help Webb turned his life around.
“This fella tapped me on the shoulder and said: ‘look mate, I don’t usually help homeless people, but something told me to help you. Come with me. We’ll put you up for the night and we’ll talk in the morning,'” Webb recalls.
“I just saw that look in his eye of just being totally scared,” Finlayson explains. “I’ve seen that look before and that’s when you know someone’s at rock bottom. He doesn’t need food, he doesn’t need a drink, he doesn’t need a sleeping bag. He needs someone to pick him up and take him somewhere where he’s going to be a lot safer than on the streets.”
Finlayson paid for Webb to spend a night in a nearby bed & breakfast instead of continuing to sleep on the streets. He then put Webb into contact with the British Legion, a charity that helps ex-military members.
After that night in the bed & breakfast, Webb stopped drinking, and the British Legion helped him find a permanent residence. Now more than a year later, Webb is teaching social studies, taking a course on IT, and even volunteering to help others.
In addition to all that, last December, Webb starred in a play about ex-military members just like him. “Life is absolutely brilliants,” he says.
To bring the story full circle, Webb was recently able to track down Finlayson and thank him for helping him turn his life around.
“I just want to tell you what you’ve done for me. You’ve done everything for me,” Webb told Finlayson. “I can’t thank you enough. You just changed my life. I just needed that somebody.”