Nearly two years ago, Chris Jackson moved from North Carolina to Georgia to create a new life for himself, but it hasn’t been easy.
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Landing a job as a custodian for Unity Grove Elementary School in Locust Grove, Georgia, was a step in the right direction, but he struggled to find stable housing.
Chris ended up staying with friends. Sometimes they could give him a ride to work each morning, but most of the time, he wound up walking 2 miles to and from the school. Over the summer his financial woes hit their peak, but he was determined not to let his stress show at work.
“But I didn’t quit. I didn’t run away,” he said. “I just stay. I put my pride aside. I just come to work, smile, be me.”
That’s exactly what happened! In spite of his hardships, Chris became a fixture at work. The kids love him, and he enjoys being a good role model for them. Meanwhile, teachers and staff adore his great attitude and willingness to lend a hand whenever they ask.
“There has never been a day where he has not come in with a smile on his face,” special education teacher Jodi Combs said. “The kids here adore him. They love Mr. Chris. And he just works so hard.”
After nearly a year of walking through all kinds of weather, Chris’ coworkers found out that he’d been living in a motel as he worked to make ends meet.
Using a Facebook page for the school’s Sunshine Committee, a group that does good deeds for people affiliated with the school, they worked out a plan to help Chris finally break the cycle of poverty. Teachers and staff pitched in to buy him a used car and money for registration and insurance!
First-grade teacher Megan MacDonald spotted an ad for a 2005 Chevrolet Impala in August, and within hours, the Sunshine Committee was on the case! They raised $2,500 to buy the car, and Jodi and Megan had the pleasure of presenting Chris with the keys in the school parking lot. Another teacher recorded the unforgettable moment, and it has since gone viral.
Chris was in a state of shock as he held the keys in his hand. He raised his arms to the sky and offered his sincere gratitude to all the friends who made it happen for him. He says this was one of his “greatest moments in life.”
“Oh my stars, there is a God,” he adds in a video. “I never could have dreamed of something like this. Thank you all!”
Chris’ advice to others who are going through tough times is to “never stop trying” – and don’t be afraid to tell others what you’re going through! You might be surprised by how far they’ll go to help you!
Watch Chris’ overjoyed reaction to the amazing news in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story.
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