Elderly man forced to work as school janitor to live gets more than $240,000 from students

There are many individuals who face personal struggles and hardships that often go unnoticed. However, after the story of one elderly man’s plight became known to those around him, they were motivated to take action and alleviate his troubles. Let’s examine how they accomplished this.

It is often said that life happens when we are busy making plans and striving to achieve them. While nothing remains permanent, difficult circumstances may persist longer than anticipated. Additionally, unexpected challenges and adversities have a way of showing up unannounced.

This rings especially true for an elderly gentleman who had dedicated his life to hard work and unwavering commitment. After retiring with hopes of a peaceful and leisurely life, he soon found himself compelled to reconsider his decision, unbeknownst to him.

Source: YouTube.com/FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth

The Old Man’s Predicament

However, the pressing question remained: why did the elderly gentleman need to reconsider his circumstances? Regrettably, his plans were derailed and his world turned upside down when his landlord increased the rent to nearly $400 per month.

Source: YouTube.com/FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth

Forced to Change His Mind

Despite being a diligent and responsible worker, the elderly man was unable to relish his golden years. He grappled with the challenge of covering his rent, while also providing food, paying bills, and managing other expenses.

As a result, he was compelled to come out of retirement and resume work, as it was the only means of his survival. In January 2023, he secured a job as a school janitor in Cooke County, Texas, despite having previously worked in a different field.

A Respectable Worker

Reverentially referred to as Mr. James by staff members and students alike, the elderly man was known for his diligent and uncomplaining work ethic. Day after day, he carried out his duties, which included cleaning up after students, hauling large trash cans, and mopping floors. He was held in high esteem by everyone, including the school’s principal, Jason Hooper.

Upon learning of the elderly man’s distressing situation, three students from Callisburg High School in Calisburg, Texas, were moved to take action and offer him some relief. Determined to make a positive impact, they resolved to do whatever they could to help him.

Supporting the Elderly Janitor

After hearing about Mr. James’ plight in one of her classes, one of the students, Marti Yousko, couldn’t shake the thought from her mind. She and her friends regarded it as a call to action, and they decided to initiate a fundraiser while leveraging the power of social media to spread the word far and wide.

Yousko, together with her friends Banner Tidwell and Greyson Thurman, joined forces to launch a campaign to assist the 80-year-old janitor. Thurman established a crowdfunding page with an initial target of $10,000, but to their surprise, the fundraiser exceeded their goal, raising over $28,000 in just two days.

Additionally, Thurman utilized TikTok to share Mr. James’ story and raise awareness of his financial struggles, highlighting the fact that the elderly man had to resume work to sustain himself. Thurman stated, “My classmates and I hate seeing Mr. James here, no one his age should have to be cleaning our messes up to continue to live.”

Source: tiktok.com/@grey.thurman

Gaining Traction

To the delight and astonishment of the Calisburg students, the GoFundMe page swiftly amassed over $160,000 within just a few days. As the donations continued to pour in, the compassionate students decided to increase the fundraising target to $200,000.

As of February 24, 2023, the fundraiser has accumulated more than $244,000. In an update entitled “Getting Mr. James out of this school” posted on the online fundraising platform, Thurman expressed gratitude to everyone who contributed to the campaign and made it successful. He stated:

“You all have made a huge impact on him that will forever change his life. We will keep the GoFundMe donation link up until noon on Friday, 2/24/23, so that he can enjoy his retirement. God bless you all!!!!”

Doing Things in Good Faith

The remarkable response to the campaign left Thurman, Yousko, Tidwell, and others astonished. They were touched by the contributions made by numerous Calisbury students, their families, and others, which significantly improved Mr. James’ situation. Thurman conveyed:

“I think God called us all to do it. Once I heard, ‘Greyson you should post it’, something was heavy on my heart telling me, Greyson you gotta do it and if you don’t this guys going to keep working here (sic).”

According to a report by Fox 4 News, Mr. James was hesitant to give an interview but expressed his gratitude for the support he received. He did not have any concerns about sharing his story. Principal Hooper of Calisburg High School stated that while the senior janitor appreciated the students’ kind gesture, he preferred to avoid the limelight.

According to reports, Mr. James has not resigned yet and is still working at the Texas school. Principal Hooper expressed his amazement at how the story gained traction and how the students rallied together to help the older man. However, it is likely that Mr. James will retire soon, thanks to the overwhelming support he received.