Chef Vishal Sharma and his wife, Soniya, lost their jobs and all their income overnight when the coronavirus lockdown arrived in March.
The couple, who are in Australia on temporary work visas, were ineligible for JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments.
To make matters worse, Mr Sharma's parents and sister, from the northern Punjab region of India, were staying with them in their inner-city Newcastle apartment for three months.
But the Sharmas have made it through two months of lockdown thanks to the generosity of their landlord and Vishal's colleagues and bosses at the Burwood Inn.
The couple turned to their savings in the first few weeks of being jobless, the Samaritans helped with bills and their landlord waived rent on their Hunter Street unit.
Mr Sharma's workmates chipped in $700 to keep him afloat, and, since the Merewether pub reopened for takeaway, bosses Tony and Sandy Dart have paid him to work, despite having enough staff on JobKeeper.
"I'm doing, like, 20 hours because they wanted to help me out as well," he said.
"They did not have to give me the work. That was a huge help from them."
He said his colleagues had also dipped into their own pockets.
"They talked to each other and then they decided to just help me. They actually gave me some money, some of the money they got from JobKeeper.
"They gave me a one-time payment, which was a huge help as well. That's pretty much how I survived."
The Darts said they had given "Vish" enough work to earn at least what JobKeeper was paying their other staff.
"I could have quite easily survived with the other guys doing that, but we just thought as a team we're all going to come out of this and we need him," Mr Dart said.
"It was just doing the right thing. If we were in that position, we'd like someone to do it for us."
Mr Sharma, 25, has been in Australia for six years, most of that time in Newcastle, and started working full-time at the Burwood eight months ago.
Ms Sharma was a housekeeper at the Holiday Inn before the lockdown.
"I spent all of my childhood in India, but I spent from 19 in Australia. Beautiful people," Mr Sharma said.
"I would love to stay, but it's really hard."
Ms Dart said Mr Sharma was "well liked by everybody, so everyone was happy to make sure he was surviving".
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