Students raise £1,500 to send 'epitome of happiness' cleaner on Jamaica trip to see family

Long-serving staff member described as 'inspirational' and 'the jolliest man'

Claire Anderson
Thursday 28 June 2018 23:25 BST
Students at the University of Bristol raise £1,500 for cleaner so he can go to Jamaica with his wife

University students clubbed together to raise more than £1,500 to send a cleaner on holiday to see family in Jamaica.

Herman Gordon, who has worked at Bristol University for more than a decade, broke down after finding out he and his wife Denise would be able to make the trip.

Students, who raised £1,577, described the cleaner as “the epitome of happiness”.

Video shows a student hand an envelope of cash to a surprised Mr Gordon who immediately begins to tear up.

He wiped away tears with a cleaning cloth and hugged the student who gave it to him, and said: “I want to thank every one of you and God bless every one of you.”

The group of students started an anonymous fundraising webpage to solicit donations for Mr Gordon, who is one of 10 children and came to the UK from Jamaica in 1967. He has worked at the university for 12 years.

After receiving the money, he said: “I am blessed and feeling good. I think the students should be there with me as well. I try to do my best with the students to help them. When I am cleaning the library, I chat to them and give them advice. I try to encourage to them to do their best in life when they finish their studies.”

A post said: “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 wanna reason to smile go talk to him for a min or two. 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.”

The creators of the JustGiving page thanked contributors for their efforts towards the gesture.

Ms Gordon said her called her in tears after receiving the money, overwhelmed by the kindness of the students.

She said: “He phoned me and he was so excited that he couldn’t get his words out, he was crying down the phone. He was in shock, but so happy. Just overwhelmed by the students’ kindness.”

Mrs Gordon said her husband had always been a ‘’happy’’ person.

The couple, who met in Birmingham, is set to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary in July.


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