Busker reunited with lost guitar in hours thanks to ‘power of social media’

A busker who left his guitar at a bus stop was reunited with the instrument less than 24 hours later thanks to the “power of social media”.

Jesse Geaney said losing his guitar would have “thrown (him) a curveball” and affected his livelihood after he had started to produce studio recordings of his music, saying he “didn’t expect to see it again”.

The 30-year-old, originally from Ireland and currently living in Lewisham, south-east London, started busking while he was homeless for around eight years.

A photo of Jesse Geaney smiling at the camera wearing a blue shirt
Jesse Geaney said his livelihood would have been affected had he not been reunited with his guitar (Jesse Geaney/PA)

“Music really helped me deal with the stress of being homeless and it gave me something to hold on to,” he told the PA news agency.

He added that he has been sober for a year and has been able to access supported social housing through Lewisham Council in the last seven months.

Mr Geaney said he was “in a positive place” before he lost his guitar on Friday evening when “suddenly everything came crashing back down and everything was ruined”.

“I knew something was going to go wrong, it was bad. I couldn’t do any of the things I planned this month,” he said.

“But it spun around thanks to the people of Lewisham and the sheer kindness and commitment and the power of the internet.”

He added that he was on the way to a friend’s recording studio when he left his guitar at the bus stop after being in a rush.

“I’ve just started getting all the music stuff going,” he said.

“I didn’t expect to see it again… you see an instrument on the street, a lot of people would take that.”

He posted about his lost guitar in a local Facebook group and said that, within hours, he received several messages from people helping to connect him with a woman who found it and took it safely home with her.

A photo of Jesse Geaney's guitar in a black case resting against the bus stop in south London where he left it
Claire Wheeler found the guitar at the bus stop and posted photos of it on a local Facebook group (Claire Wheeler/PA)

“I was so surprised to wake up on Saturday morning to see messages about it all – the whole thing was resolved in 15 hours just through the community Facebook page,” he said.

Claire Wheeler, a substance misuse worker from nearby Eltham, said she was on her way home on Friday evening when she saw Mr Geaney’s guitar at the bus stop.

She took photos of the instrument and initially planned to hand it to a bus driver, but they declined to take it because it was not left on the bus itself.

So Ms Wheeler decided to take it home with her and posted the images to the Facebook group where members of the page were able to locate Mr Geaney’s original post and connect the pair.

“Somebody else did the work for me – they found him, the power of social media did it all for me,” she told PA.

“It makes me feel happy that it’s going back to the right place.

“To speak to Jesse and hear his story makes me feel even better – someone who has been down on their luck and trying to do an awful lot with their life, and this is his livelihood.”

The pair met on Saturday, and Ms Wheeler returned the guitar to its owner.

Mr Geaney said he felt “uplifted” after being reunited with his instrument, saying he would have had to “scrape together” to purchase a new one after recently spending £220 on his guitar.

“It’s a high precision instrument which would be worth a pretty penny – I’m just in awe and I’m still buzzing that this has happened,” he said.

“The integrity of people is just beautiful and for every one person that does you bad, there’s 10 people that can do you good.”