Sometimes being happy is not an effervescent feeling that constantly bubbles up out of your soul. Sometimes it’s achieved though sheer force of will.
You’ve probably heard the saying that “happiness is a choice,” and that certainly seems to ring true for many.
But there are those who, by choice, continue to be happy and do all they can to make others happy too.
That’s how it was for Herman Gordon, a janitor of 12 years at Bristol University. Universities aren’t exactly known for being happy places. They’re filled with deadlines, social pressures and stress.
Time and again, the stressed students at Bristol found peace around Gordon, who was always in a good mood and willing to chat with anyone.
Some of the students decided that they needed to do something to thank Gordon. Obviously, Gordon was not being kind because he thought he would get a reward: He simply did it because that’s the kind of stand-up guy he was.
So one day, after fundraising and gathering enough cash for Gordon and his wife to visit family in Jamaica, a student approached him in a campus building and gave an envelope to the unsuspecting janitor.
When Gordon opened it, he was speechless. He started crying almost immediately, and wiped those tears of gratitude away with his blue cleaning cloth.
“You know, something like this you know that somebody loves you,” he told the student. “God bless man, God bless.”
“I was working and they told me what they did for me,” he later recounted. “When they give me the envelope I open it and look. When I look I see all of this money in 50 pound notes.”
“I haven’t seen 50 pound notes in a long time. I feel good for what they’ve done for me. I feel really blessed.”
“I want to thank every one of you and God bless every one of you,” he added.
And the students sang his praises on their fundraising page.
“The Jamaican cleaner in the med library is the jolliest man I have ever met, he makes me smile even when I’m in the deepest depths of revision or trying to be, if you (want a) reason to smile go talk to him for a min or two,” the post read.
“Anyone who has been to the biomedical sciences library knows who Herman the cleaner is. Simply put, he is the epitome of happiness. All year round, this man works hours on end to provide us with a clean working space in which to study.”
“But most importantly, his undying positive energy and chit-chat has managed to turn many students’ dark days into positive ones filled with joy.”
“Whether you’re just feeling generally down and out or stressed out due to exams, Herman is always there to speak to you. This legend proves that happiness is not about what you own, what job you have or how much money you’ve got, but about appreciating what you currently have in life even if it’s minimal.”
“This page is simply just to give back to Herman — in the form of providing enough funds so that he can catch a flight to Jamaica for a week this summer to see his family.”
“So if your day has ever been brightened by this ebullient, inspirational man, then if you could spare a few pounds to help us get him a week off this summer then I’m sure he’ll be very grateful.”
We hope Gordon and his wife have a wonderful time on their much-deserved vacation!