Robert Reed, a 60-year-old janitor at an elementary school, understands the value of hard work. He knows that to do his duties well, he must maintain a certain level of dedication.
And that’s exactly what he’s been doing for the last four months.
His job as a janitor at Farmington Elementary School in Germantown, Tennessee, is far from easy. But what makes his every day challenging is not his job; it’s the journey he takes going to and from work.
Robert didn’t have a car, so he has to commute to work every day. He takes three buses and walks for two miles to get to school on time. Then, he has to do it all over again at the end of each day. Because of his tedious commute, Robert usually doesn’t get home until 8 p.m. or later.
Despite this exhausting routine, Robert always manages to show up to every day with a smile. In fact, everyone at Farmington can agree that “Mr. Robert adds a little sunshine to our school.” Because of his cheery demeanor, he has made quite an impact on the school’s faculty and students.
The beloved janitor is also known to be an exceptionally hard worker. Once he’s done with his janitorial duties, Robert looks for extra jobs that he can do around the school. He’s always ready to lend a helping hand, and he does all of this with a big smile on his face.
Robert’s approachable and friendly personality earned him the love and respect of people at school. His coworkers knew of his commuting struggles, so they would drive him to the bus stop from time to time. Some of them would even give him money for lunch.
“Let’s say I get off at 3 p.m.,” Robert told WMC Action News 5. “Then I get home around 7 p.m. I stay at Millbranch and Winchester. I have to catch three buses and walk two miles. All the teachers have taken me to the bus stop. They even gave me money when I didn’t have any. I’m telling you, Farmington is a family here.”
That’s until his colleagues decided to reward him for his diligence. They also didn’t want him to walk going to work anymore, so they decided to do something special for him. They started an online fundraiser to buy him a truck!
Last February 19, the Farmington staff asked him to come to the library. Robert thought he was being called to talk about his duties, until teacher Elizabeth Malone revealed the good news to him.
“We started a GoFundMe for you 21 hours ago,” she said. “And we’ve raised $7000 for you to buy a new truck.”
Upon hearing those words, Robert dropped to his knees and started crying. The emotional moment was captured on video by the rest of the staff. When he stood back up again, he hugged the teacher who then patted him on the back and said, “You deserve it.”
Teacher Elizabeth said that Robert is a great role model for the students at Farmington.
“His work ethic is unbelievable, and we want our kids to pick up on that, not only to have a good work ethic, but also if you see someone in need, try to help. It’s important to do that,” she said.
The fundraiser exceeded it’s $10,000 goal and is now at almost $50,000! On Memorial Day, Robert finally got his dream truck – a 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 in a gorgeous red shade, his favorite color.
Since he had been planning to start a yard business on the side, Robert also used a portion of the money to purchase lawn equipment. His dreams are finally coming true one by one, and all of it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the staff at Farmington and the donors.
“I love these people up here,” Robert said. “I love them! And I couldn’t have made it without them. It’s a joy to work here. Pure joy.”
Watch the video below to see the emotional moment the beloved janitor learned of the unexpected news.