Janitor, 83, Moved to Tears After Students Make Him 'King' in Surprise Retirement Party
83-year-old John Lockett was moved to tears last week after more than 600 students gathered to crown him “king” at a surprise retirement party.
Lockett, affectionately nicknamed Mr. John, is to retire on May 24 officially, but last week, the janitor got a pleasant shock after walking into the school to see staff and students gathered for a party in his honor.
Staff members and 685 students at Sand Hill Elementary School in Carrollton, Georgia, gave Lockett a cape and a crown and told him it was “Mr. John Day,” according to “Good Morning America.”
'He is as good as they come. It was the perfect day to celebrate him and make it about him.'
Lockett had been a janitor at the school for over ten years after previously working in construction, and if footage of the surprise party is anything to go by, the octogenarian was overjoyed.
For the past six years, "Mr. John" Lockett has swept, mopped and quietly kept things in order at Sand Hill Elementary School. The school's grateful students honored him with a surprise celebration, declaring it "Mr. John Day." https://t.co/hV5HohimGE— CNN (@CNN) May 21, 2019
In a video posted to Facebook, Lockett can be seen wearing his cape and crown while the kids chant “Mr. John!” and collect cards and gifts in a basket.
Lockett told GMA that he "loves the kids."
"This school means so much to me," he added. "I really love my job; it is for the kids."
School principal Carla Meigs recalled Lockett's reaction to the surprise:
"He was so surprised that he just cried with the kids. It was so sweet. He is a very humble, hardworking, just dedicated to the job. He is as good as they come. It was the perfect day to celebrate him and make it about him."
Lockett’s wife of 25 years, Annie, was reportedly in on the surprise and helped make it a reality. Now that he’s retired, Lockett plans to spend more time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His story brings to mind several others of students showing appreciation to their school custodians and janitors.
Students at the University of Bristol in England also decided to surprise their janitor, a Jamaican immigrant
The job can be physically tasking and even emotionally draining, but when a custodian manages to brighten up the day of others while cleaning after them, they’re worth celebrating.
Last October, teachers, and students at Moody Elementary School in Alabama, gave their janitor, Mr. Eugene, the shock of his life on National Custodian Day.
Mr. Eugene thought he was going to clean up a mess in the gym when he came face-to-face with hundreds of excited students waiting to shower him with cards and gifts.
Last June, students at the University of Bristol in England, also decided to surprise their janitor, a Jamaican immigrant who hadn’t seen his family for years, with enough money to make the trip.
These stories just go to show that a little act of kindness goes a long way and does not have to cost a lot of money.