Homeless Hastings man who wrote note asking for job dies: family pays tribute

The family of a former homeless Hastings man – whose note asking for a job went viral – have paid tribute to him following his sudden death.

Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 11:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 2:02 pm
Anthony Johnson SUS-190320-164620001

Anthony Johnson died on May 18, aged 37, due to complications with his health.

He had moved back to Tonbridge and was living in supported accommodation at the time of his death.

On Wednesday (July 15) his family said: “Anthony has always been an unconventional character. He has never liked to conform to society and regulations. He was always a bright spark and ready to try his hand at anything and to help anybody.

Anthony Johnson's note asking for a job SUS-190320-164631001

“Having additional needs such as ADHD and dyslexia, life and sticking to one path was never going to be easy.

“Animals and fishing always gave him a sense of escape and peace for short periods.

“He was and always will be a much loved son to Glynis and brother and uncle to all those that cared around him.”

In March 2019, Anthony had been living on the streets for nine years when he posted a note outside the bus stop opposite the Pelican, in Hastings, asking for work to make ‘life worth living’.

It was spotted by Charlotte Howard, aged 16 at the time, who shared it onto her Facebook page and the post went viral.

Anthony was soon offered a job and managed to get himself off the streets.

In March 2019, he said: “The reaction after Charlotte posted the note was weird. I was suddenly bombarded with certain things.

“It’s not like I haven’t previously been asking for help but all it takes is an open-minded person like Charlotte to come along and help. She saw me and recognised my position and decided she wanted to do something to help.

“I wouldn’t have got anywhere looking for a job if it wasn’t for her.

“She really is incredible.”

Charlotte, who has kept in contact with Anthony’s family, said his death was ‘very sudden and sad’.

She attended Anthony’s funeral, which was held on June 10.

Paying tribute to him, Charlotte said: “Anthony was such a sweet kind hearted man. He honestly had such a contagious smile! He would always put others first and wanted the best for everyone. It’s just so heartbreaking what happened.”

Last year, Anthony admitted he had previously been ‘a horrible person living a horrible life’ who spent time in and out of prison.

On one occasion, he said he tried to break into a car just to be given a warm bed in prison and time to start over.

However, after receiving a four year jail term, Anthony was faced with living on the streets once released.

He said: “The fact is that trying to walk away from that horrible life landed me on the streets.

“Getting a job is about having something to do rather than rotting away on a bench. It’s about having something in your life and at the moment that seems to be coming back.”

Anthony’s family is raising money to help pay for his cremation. The fundraiser can be found here.

They are also hoping to say a real goodbye later in the year, in Hastings, for those who were unable to be at the limited funeral service due to coronavirus.