Fed up with her stepson Ben being offered plenty of unpaid work experience but no paying jobs Fiona Hodge turned to the internet for help — and it’s paid off.
What started as an impromptu post on Twitter has turned into a global appeal for 26-year-old Ben Small from Liverpool, with the hashtag #GiveBenAJob going viral.
Won't someone in the Liverpool area give my step son, Ben, who has Down's Syndrome a chance at a paid job? Motivated with NVQ 2 in catering
— Fi (@FleaBagLady) March 13, 2015
The post has been retweeted over 800 times (receiving a boost when comedian Jason Manford helped to spread the word) and, after the story was picked up by the Liverpool Echo, word quickly spread further afield with the story reaching America, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand.
“It’s really taken off. It’s been absolutely mad,” Ben’s dad Mike told the Liverpool Echo.
As well as his unexpected time in the limelight, Ben has now received three job offers. The Costa Coffee franchise at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, family-run cafe Wilson’s Kitchen and a school for young people with autism have all been in touch to express an interest in hiring Ben. (As well as a company in California but the family have decided it’s probably a little too far for Ben to travel.)
“Obviously at the end of the day it’s Ben’s choice but at least he has a hell of a lot more options than he did before this,” said Mike.