MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Not too long ago Jeremiah Wilson was homeless and down to his last dollar, but these days he’s hard at work for a local construction company all thanks to a chance encounter that’s left both sides much better off.
"I had no income before this, my income was basically asking people for money, I had no money," Wilson told FOX 9 on Monday. He has a 1-year-old daughter to take care of, but for weeks he struggled to find a new job, "so I turned to panhandling, which was really what I was doing that day."
A chance encounter with a stranger would change everything for him.
It happened outside of an Aldi’s grocery store in Minneapolis. James Dotseth, owner of JD Consulting Group, noticed Jeremiah asking for money to support his family; and he knew he could give him something even better.
"I seen him and his daughter and his wife and he asked us for food," Dotseth told FOX 9. "The only thing I really had to offer him was a job."
Now they’re going on four months of their new partnership, with Jeremiah learning carpentry work and helping out on sites three days a week.
"I don’t have to go out and beg for money no more, I just work," Wilson said.
Dotseth expects Wilson will come on full-time soon.
"He’s a really hard worker," Dotseth said. "He’s shown up every day, anytime I call him… he’s like I’ll be ready in a few minutes boss."
On Monday, they worked to put up a new fence in Minneapolis, and Jeremiah is the one getting paid, but both sides are getting some out of this.
Dotseth was once homeless himself, and now he’s glad to help lift up someone else.
"I’ve become a better person, it’s made me a lot stronger," Dotseth said.
As for Wilson’s family, they’re now staying at a hotel until they can find a more permanent living situation.
"I like the pay, I like the work, so I might take on the trade, probably get into the union or something you never know," Wilson said. "I’ll see where it takes me."