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Kind students raise $180,000 for elderly janitor who was forced out of retirement to make the rent

Three high school students came together to help the elderly janitor who was struggling to make ends meet.

Kind students raise $180,000 for elderly janitor who was forced out of retirement to make the rent
Cover Image Source: TikTok/@grey.thurman

Retirement is a much more obvious milestone in most people's lives. Yet for one elderly janitor in Callisburg, Texas, it was cut short when his rent was increased beyond his capacity to pay. Thankfully, three high school students are stepping up to help this hero who has been working hard to keep their school clean. Mr. James, 80, was forced to come out of retirement last month when his rent rose by an additional $400 per month. Greyson Thurman, one of the students who organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Mr. James, shared a touching TikTok video of the janitor at his job, captioning it with, “Let’s help Mr. James out!” The campaign had an initial goal of $10,000 to cover rent, food and monthly bills, yet an outpouring of support has resulted in the goal now being set at $200,000. As of Wednesday evening, the fundraiser has raised $180,000.

Image Source: GoFundMe
Image Source: GoFundMe


Thurman shared with Fox News 4 North Dallas-Fort Worth, "No one should have to work their whole life and not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor." High school senior Banner Tidwell shared a similar sentiment to KXII, expressing that it was "sad to see an 80-year-old man having to do things an 80-year-old shouldn't." When the students told Mr. James of their plan, Marti Yousko reported to Fox 4 that he was "kind of like, 'Dang, that's alright!' " Principal Jason Hooper further added that Mr. James was "very appreciative of what these students have done," but that he wishes to keep his life private and "not be part of the spotlight." Yousko told KXII that the students did not expect the campaign to be as successful as it was, and Hooper commented on the "need that was met because of three kind kids but of all of our students who have pitched in to help that need." As of Wednesday, Mr. James is still employed at the school, according to Fox News.

Image Source: Tiktok
Image Source: Tiktok/grey.thurman


As Tidwell commented to KXII, “I think it’s really cool that us teenagers can do something like this.” The GoFundMe for Mr. James will remain open for donations and any excess funds will be donated to a local charity. It's a heartwarming example of how the power of kindness can still be found in today's world.

Retirement is something that most of us look forward to, but for Mr. James, it was taken away when his rent had increased beyond his means. The students have demonstrated the power of young people & technology to create positive change and have shown us the power of kindness. Not only that but also any excess funds that are raised will be donated to a local charity, meaning that this fundraiser can continue to help others in the community. It is a beautiful reminder of how, even in difficult times, people are willing to come together to help those in need.

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