I've known Mike for around 7 or 8 years now. I first met Mike when I was going to Ignite youth clubs and football classes. I had just moved back home after 2 years, after having my twin girls. Things didn't work out with the girls' mum so I had I had to move back home. At that time I had a lot of family and personal issues going on. I was in some ways a lost soul. I couldn't find a job to support my girls or pay bills so I turned to crime, the only way I thought I could get money quick. Mike saw what I was doing and how I was getting by. He pulled me to one side and had a talk with me about it and how it will not make for a happy ending if I kept going. He explained he went through the same things as a young man - having kids early, trouble finding work, problems with crime and at home. Mike helped me take control of my life in the right way. He got me in the gym and also got me doing some voluntary work with young people to help me see how good it feels to do things right and see a smile on someone's face after you have helped them. He got me a job with Ealing Council then with a warehouse company.
I was working supporting my girls and doing more for people everyday, which I love, but then my dad got cancer and everything started to fall apart. I was doing a lot at home and started to neglect work, the gym and other things that got me to my happy place. Before I knew it, I lost my job. The mother of my girls was not letting me see them because I didn't have money to give and then my dad passed away. I went into a bad depression. I started to heavily smoke cannabis. I was avoiding all my family and friends and just using them when I needed money. My habit got so bad I started selling cannabis to support my habit. I got arrested, was given a 1 year suspended sentence and had to do 1 year's drug and alcohol and go on probation as well.
I was in a really bad place but I bumped into Mike one day and had a quick talk, exchanged numbers and decided to meet up one day and have a proper talk. For a bit I was avoiding him because I didn't want to talk to anyone but he kept calling me or dropping me a text to see how I was, so I met up with him and had the talk.
Now I'm working full time as a support worker and have been for 7 months now. I've sorted out my family problems at home. I'm still in the process of sorting out custody with my children but I'm in a much better mindset to deal with it all. As a whole, Mike has been an inspiration and role model for me, more than he ever knows. The world needs more people like Mike, real people like Mike. A person who knows what it's like to fail or get knocked down but to get back up time and time again. A person that goes out of his way for people and knows there's plenty of ups and downs and smiles and frowns around every corner but keeps marching forward. The trouble with the wold if there is too many people that are shepherding people through life with pretty, fictional stories that don't actually relate to real life. The world needs real non-fiction stories that relate to real life like Mike's.