Ex-homeless heroin addict wants to thank Banbury boy who changed his life

Hunger Start is helping Ben Hornsby to stay sober Photo: Ben Hornsby/Facebook NNL-180501-160313001
Hunger Start is helping Ben Hornsby to stay sober Photo: Ben Hornsby/Facebook NNL-180501-160313001

A former heroin addict is searching for the boy who changed his life with a simple act of kindness while he was homeless and begging in Banbury to thank him.

Ben Hornsby marked his achievement of being clean for two years on New Year’s Day by telling his story on Facebook about how a boy’s small gesture inspired him to seek help.

The 36-year-old did not expect the huge reaction online as he shared how he got his life back after years of heroin abuse and stints in prison.

He hopes he has the chance to thank the child who started his recovery, just by giving him a drink and some spare change as he sat near Tesco Express on Middleton Road in September, 2015.

“It would be nice to see the lad and say this is what you did for me,” he told the Banbury Guardian.

“After 17 years as a heroin addict, I tried to stop many times and my rock bottom was sitting in a shop door begging and I believe if he hadn’t come that day, I would still be sat there now or dead.

I believe if he hadn’t come that day, I would still be sat there now or dead.

Ben Hornsby

“So it would the world to me to meet him, I don’t know what I would say but I’d thank him and show him what a random act of kindness can do to someone’s life.”

Ben grew up in Enstone and lived in Banbury until he was referred to a rehab centre in Portsmouth in 2015 as part of his recovery, after receiving help from Turning Point in Banbury and a treatment centre in Oxford.

All of that was started by a dark-haired, young boy – Ben thinks he was about 11-years-old – who gave him a bottle of water and the coins in his pocket, ‘about £2.50’.

“My first thought was I would never give someone my last bit of money at that age, I would be buying sweets or something,” Ben said.

“I just thought, ‘wow, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t live this life any longer,’ so I went and got help.

“I was really shocked by his kindness, it was the first time after half a year of begging that a kid had done that, it blew me away.”

Ben now works for Herbalife Nutrition, helping others be more healthy, as well as living independently with no desire to drink or do drugs.

He is also part of the Hunger Start personal development community which helps him stay sober and motivated to do better in his day-to-day life.

“[The boy] completely changed my life, I now have a completely different outlook on life,” he said.

“I believe my purpose in life is to help people and inspire people, before it was to get drunk and high on heroin but now I don’t think of drugs anymore, I just love life.”

Ben’s original post on Facebook had around 350 shares and loads of ‘likes’ and comments, but an accidental delete meant he had to post it again, but the second post has been widely shared too.

Although there is no guarantee he will ever meet or talk to the boy, Ben is mostly thankful for his random act of kindness which turned his life around.

Anyone with information or who wants to talk to Ben, message him on Facebook or comment on the post.