School employees, parents raise money to buy vehicle for Germantown custodian

Updated: Feb. 19, 2020 at 10:01 PM CST
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GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (WMC) - Employees and parents at one Shelby County school are stepping up to help one of their own. Robert Reed is the much-loved custodian at Farmington Elementary in Germantown. He loves his job so much, he’s willing to walk miles, literally, to get to work. His colleagues decided it was time to give Robert a lift.

He’s only been a janitor at Farmington for about four months, but his positive attitude has earned him much respect. Colleagues notice how hard Reed works at making the school sparkle and shine. They’ve also noticed that without a car, he works even harder to get to and from Farmington every day.

“Let’s say I get off at 3 p.m.,” Reed told WMC Action News 5. “Then I get home around 7 p.m. I stay at Millbranch and Winchester. I have to catch three buses and walk 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.”

And on Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Farmington family took care of Mr. Robert, as they call him. They asked him to come to the library, he thought to talk about his duties. But teacher Elizabeth Malone had a surprise in store for him. As they stood together, in front of their coworkers, Malone delivered the news.

“We started a GoFundMe for you 21 hours ago,” said Malone. “And we’ve raised $7000 for you to buy a new truck.”

Reed dropped to his knees and started crying. When he stood back up, he hugged Malone. She patted him on the back and told him, “You deserve it.”

Within one day, and just hours after Reed was told about the GoFundMe, it had gone up to $9,500, nearing the $10,000 final goal. Teachers and parents donated without hesitation.

“We love you, Mr. Reed,” wrote one donor.

“Always a smile on his face,” wrote another.

Malone said Reed is a wonderful role model for the 600 students who go to Farmington.

“His work ethic is unbelievable,” she said, “and we want our kids to pick up on that, not only to have a good work ethic, but also if you see someone in need, try to help. It’s important to do that.”

Mr. Robert said he doesn’t know yet what kind of truck he’s going to get. He was still taking it all in when WMC Action News 5 interviewed him. But he was sure about one thing:

“I love these people up here,” said Reed, wiping away tears. “I love them! And I couldn’t have made it without them. It’s a joy to work here. Pure joy.”

If you’d like to help Mr. Robert get his truck, or pay for the insurance, here’s the GoFundMe link:

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