Teenagers often get a bad rap, but they can be a lot more thoughtful than we give them credit for.
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Three students from Callisburg High School in Texas saw something in the halls of their school that rubbed them the wrong way. Mr. James, a janitor at the school, is 80 years old and recently returned to the workforce. The reason? His rent went up $400 a month, which was more than he could afford.
Mr. James joins a growing number of seniors forced to keep working in a tough post-pandemic economy. When students Greyson Thurman, Banner Tidwell, and Marti Yousko heard why he’d come back to work, they decided to do something to help the elderly man.
“It’s just so sad seeing an 80-year-old man having to do things an 80-year-old shouldn’t have to do.” said Banner, a senior at the school.
Greyson made a quick TikTok of Mr. James working in the school hallways with a call to action: “Let’s help Mr. James Out!” He also started a GoFundMe with the title “Getting Mr. James out of this school.”
The students set a modest goal of raising $10,000, enough to help Mr. James with his rent for a couple of years. But, as is usually the case with the internet, things didn’t go as planned! The video went viral with almost 40,000 views, and the entire school community rallied to help Mr. James.
“I have 2,000 followers, and that was enough to get the word out,” Greyson reflected.
The campaign raised the $10,000 in the first 12 hours online, and it kept soaring with each passing day. Now they’ve raised well over $250,000 to help Mr. James!
“When we told him, he was kind of like, ‘dang, that’s alright!'” said Marti, who was the first to suggest the GoFundMe effort for the janitor.
“Nobody deserves to work their whole life,” Greyson agreed. “They deserve to enjoy everything.”
Mr. James has not put in his notice, and he doesn’t want any fanfare or public attention, but he is very grateful to the students for noticing his needs and lending a hand. School principal Jason Hooper is also incredibly proud of his students.
“Its just amazing,” he said, “You know of the need that was met because of three kind kids, but of all of our students who have pitched in to help that need.”
Way to go, kids! This generation of teens really know how to use the internet to get stuff done, don’t they? We’re impressed!
Share this story to wish Mr. James well as he retires, for good this time!
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