Sixty-year-old elementary school janitor, Robert Reed couldn't believe his luck when he found out that his coworkers had been raising money for him to buy a car after seeing him walk miles to work every single day.
Teachers and students at the school quickly noticed that Reed didn't own a car, meaning his commute to and from the school was pretty challenging. That's when people decided to start raising money for him.
Reed would walk to school before his shift, after which he would take part In heavy manual labor leaving him exhausted, and would still have to walk an additional 2 miles to get back home. Obviously, this wasn't ideal...
"Let's say I get off at 3 o'clock," Reed told WMC-TV. "I would get home around 7 because I stay at Millbranch and Winchester."
Co-workers would often give Reed a ride to the bus stop due to him being so well-liked. Despite only working there for a little over a year, he stole the hearts of those who worked alongside him.
"I have to catch three buses and walk about 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," he told WMC-TV.
Elizabeth Malone, a teacher at Farmington Elementary, decided she wanted to do more for him; so she started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to buy him a car.
"His manager says he LOOKS for jobs to do around the school, after he has completed his daily tasks," reads the description for the fundraiser. "Every day he goes above and beyond taking care of the needs in our facility."
The fundraiser reached $7,000 in less than twenty-four hours, and it didn't stop there. On February 19, the staff finally told Reed what they had been doing behind his back, to which he fell to his knees in disbelief. He welled up as Malone explained they were raising money to buy him a truck.
"His work ethic is unbelievable, and we just want our kids to pick up on that," Malone told WMC-TV. "Not only to have a good work ethic but also if you see someone that has a need that it's important for you too — if you can, give — that it's important for you to do that."
The fundraiser is now close to $50,000, which is a whopping 5 times the amount Malone planned to raise. In May, Reed finally got a 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 in red, his dream truck.
"I love these people up here," Reed told WMC-TV of his colleagues. "I love them! And I couldn't have made it without them. It's a joy to work here. Pure joy."
Let's hope Robert's commute is now much easier and enjoyable!