A man tracked down the teen knifeman who mugged his nephew and rather than hand him in, spoke to him about turning his life around.
After listening to the remorseful youth’s story, Winston Davis has been inundated with job offers for the lad to keep him away from crime.
It took Davis six weeks to track down the 16-year-old “frightened boy” who had mugged his own 12-year-old nephew on his way to buy a chocolate bar. They arranged to meet so that the teen could hand back the bag he had stolen, but it was then Davis discovered the young man had no parents, job, or education, and that against these odds he still wanted to be a computer engineer.
Their conversation was filmed and has now gone viral, sparking a flood of job offers for the lad.
Davis, who is also a charity worker, had called out for support and opportunities from his followers.
He received a huge response, and says it’s been amazing to receive loads of offers of apprenticeships, training, money, and mentoring.
“When it happened the lad that did it was gesturing to the knife on his leg, but you can see on camera that he hasn’t held it to his neck or anything, he just used it as a threat,” Davis recounts. “He told me he’s been in and out of detention centers and had no education and has literally been living in supported living.”
“I said to him, ‘look, I’ll help you if you return the bag.’ We made the agreement that he would go get the bag and come back the next day and fair play to him that’s exactly what he did.”
The fact that he brought the bag back, and chose not to turn off his phone and forget the whole thing said a lot about him, Davis thought.
Grabbing hold of the wheel
Davis went to the scene of the mugging after confirming the police were going to do very little. He was expecting to find an adult, but as Davis searched CCTV and doorbell camera footage near where the event took place and spoke to people in the area, he bumped into a kid who matched one of the pictures he had been given only to realize he was just a boy.
“Look, I know who you are, I know what you’ve done, and I can help you, but you’re going to have to return the bag,” Davis said, remembering the confrontation.
Afterwards Davis wrote to his social/charity work circles for help.
“Although what he did was completely wrong, he said he was broke and needed the money… he’s 16 years old and has no qualification.”
“Despite this he wants to work in computer engineering… this kid doesn’t need punishment, he needs help… if there is anyone that knows about career routes/training programs for him, please drop me a dm.”
As chairman of Southside Young Leaders Academy, a charity helping young African and Afro-Caribbean boys become leaders, Davis has dealt with many kids in the same situation, noting “sometimes people aren’t ready for whatever reason.”
“Sometimes children are so traumatized from what they’ve been through as young children that it’s really hard for them to have any connection or belief that they can do anything other than what they’ve been exposed to at such a young age.”
“I can see in this young man there’s something in him that wants to go on and do good. It’s just, can he see far enough into the future? To be able to take advantage of the good nature and goodwill of so many people?”
“Our prefrontal cortex doesn’t develop until we’re 25, and that’s all about decision making, so people make riskier behaviors because that isn’t developed. We’re writing them off because they do things they shouldn’t do at such a young age.”
“Like no let’s try to intervene with them, let’s try to help them make changes, and help them take a different path. Because that helps us as a society.”