An entrepreneur has told how his hard work got him away from the violent streets of east London to running a business pimping up sportscars for the super-rich in Qatar.
While some of his schoolmates lost their lives to youth violence or fell into gangs and crime, Gideon King earned money polishing cars.
After a remarkable rise to wealth, he has now been installed in the Middle East by a wealthy sheikh, and works for top musicians and business figures detailing their expensive vehicles.
Now Gideon feels he can help youngsters battling the wave of drug-inspired violence in London to make something of themselves – just as he has.
Gideon King worked his way up from polishing cars to owning his own car detailing firm
Mr King’s family emigrated to the UK from Nigeria in the 1950s and he spent some of his youth in Canning Town, where he says there were few opportunities for young people.
He said: ‘Most of my friends were engaging in activities that weren’t beneficial long term… it upsets me to know that most of them have fallen by the wayside.
‘There was lots of violence where I was brought up and if you went into a nightclub there would be always be fights.
‘I lost a friend who got stabbed to death in a fight at college, it was a terrible loss.’
The father-of-three’s new home in Qatar is a world away from his youth in east London. Here he is aged 20 holding his young son Tunde
The father-of-three credits the positive thinking and work ethic instilled in him by his family as the secret of his success.
They helped him set up a small business selling mobile phones, before he ran a security firm.
Mr King – who was dubbed ‘Car Wash’ by his peers at school – later returned to cars.
He starting doing detailing on top vehicles and he was soon getting work improving the Lamborghinis and Bentleys of the global elite.
He even worked on a £1.75million Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse owned by world-famous pianist Lang Lang.
His big break came after he worked on a Land Rover owned by a Qatari sheikh client.
He said: ‘On completion, I was paid four times more than what I quoted and he requested for a meeting with me the following day in which he stated that “All the time you have been doing my cars and all the places I have visited, I have never seen work like yours”.’
Mr King with a client in Qatar, where he now runs a business detailing cars, yachts and jets
The sheikh handed the now-40-year-old a three-bedroom apartment in Qatar and paid him four times the amount billed, helping him set up a firm which also does work on yachts and private jets.
‘I’m really proud with what I’ve achieved and it has been on the back of a lot of hard work and determination,’ says King, who now wants to be a mentor to teenagers struggling to break free from downward cycles of crime and violence.
‘I had a vision and giving up was never an option. I want to use that as an example to help others.
‘We need more mentoring to stop kids following the neighbourhood drug dealer and into that lifestyle where their minds are poisoned by the pursuit of quick money without any hard work.
‘I want to pass on the skills that have helped me. I want them to have the chance to entrepreneurs. There is so much talent there and yet we see so much waste and death.’
Among his clients was the pianist Lang Lang, whose Bugatti Veyron Mr King worked on.
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