The janitor’s rent was increased, which forced him to go back to work
When Mr. James (a janitor at a Texas high school) retired, students didn’t expect to see him back. But when his rent was increased with $400, Mr. James had to go back to work. So, students at the high school decided to raise money for him so Mr. James could retire again.
The janitor of Callisburg High School, 80-year-old Mr. James, had already retired. But when the rent of his house went up with $400 in January 2023, he couldn’t afford to stay retired. And that meant that he had to get back to work. When students saw the 80-year-old man in the hallway, they decided to help him. Greyson Thurman, a senior who started the campaign for Mr. James told KTEN: “When I saw him in the hall, it broke my heart. Nobody at that age should be working; they should be living the rest of their life, you know?” And that is why the students turned to TikTok to ask others for a donation.
In February, the campaign started. Within a week, the students had raised $270,000. Which was $260,000 more than their initial goal. And even though Mr. James didn’t want to respond himself, student Marti Yousko who was also involved in the campaign told KDFW that the janitor was very happy with the initiative. The student said: “When we told [Mr. James], he was kind of like, ‘Dang, that’s alright!’”
Unfortunately, the story of Mr. James is not an unusual one in the U.S. A lot of people still have to work even after reaching the average age for retirement. A lot of seventy-five-year-olds are still working to pay off student debts. Ted Newman, a retired state government employee in Ohio, told The Guardian: “I have been working full-time for the last eight years since retiring, and my wife also. Her yearly salary went almost completely to pay student debt, and I worked to have extras for the home…”
The fundraiser for Mr. James raised a total of $270,890 before Mr. James asked the students to take the page down. According to the page “[Mr. James] is VERY appreciative of everyone willing to give up their time to help him out and change his life.”