Over the past few years, the outlandish increase in the cost of living for the average American has been hard on just about everyone. Prices on consumer goods have been through the roof as inflation reached its highest level in 40 years in June of 2022.
Rent has been going up for the average American as well. From 2017 to 2022, the average year-over-year increase was 5.77%, with the most significant increase of an average of 14% occurring from 2021 to 2022.
Almost every American feels the pain of the increased living expenses, but it has to be especially hard on those living on a fixed income. Fox 4 News reports that when an 80-year-old retired man affectionately known as “Mr. James” saw his rent go up by $400, he had to work again to make ends meet. Callisburg High School in Texas hired Mr. James as a janitor, and the sight of seeing a man that old lifting garbage cans and scrubbing lunch tables didn’t sit right with some of the students.
“It’s just so sad seeing an 80-year-old man having to do things an 80-year-old shouldn’t have to do,” Callisburg senior Banner Tidwell said, according to KXII.
A few of the school’s students decided to do something about Mr. James’ situation and started a GoFundMe campaign called “Getting Mr. James out of this school” to raise some money for him so he could resume his retirement. The teens started with a goal of $10,000 that was quickly surpassed after Greyson Thurman, a Callisburg student, promoted it with a TikTok video that went viral.
Just 8 days after the GoFundMe campaign started, it has already raised $225,000 for Mr. James. “He doesn’t want any part of the spotlight. He’s appreciative of what these students have done,” the school’s principal, Jason Hooper, told Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth.
Go fund me is in the bio! My classmates and I hate seeing Mr. James here, no one his age should have to be cleaning our messes up to continue to live. #fyp#school#gofundme#fy#mrjames
“It’s crazy to see something that we knew people would have wanted to help. But we didn’t know it would blow up,” senior Marti Yousko, one of the campaign’s organizers, told KXII, “When we told him, he was kind of like, ‘dang, that’s alright!'” Yousko continued.
“It’s just amazing,” Hooper told KXII. ”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.”
Incredibly, these students had the heart to realize Mr. James’ struggles and stepped up and do something about the situation. This is one of those stories that is both heartwarming and sad. It’s beautiful that the kids, the community and people around the world are helping Mr. James, but it’s terrible that an 80-year-old man would have to resort to going back to work in the first place. Especially in a country with so much wealth.
Fox 4 News reached out to the Callisburg Independent School District to see if Mr. James is still working at the school, and he hasn’t said anything about leaving his job just yet.
“Nobody deserves to work their whole life. They deserve to enjoy everything,” Thurman said.