He was forced to return to work despite reaching the age of 80. School students surprised a cleaner and collected more than $250,000 for him.

Elderly cleaner
Elderly cleaner/Shutterstock

In an act of compassion, high school students in Texas have come together to donate a staggering $250,000 for an 80-year-old janitor, allowing him to retire with dignity. This generous donation was made because he had recently been forced back into work due to expensive rent payments on his home.

Known among students as Mr. James, the cleaner returned to work in January after increasing his house rent by $400 a month, according to US broadcaster KDFW. While students at Kalisburg High School, 130 kilometers north of Dallas, launched their campaign last week, posting it on TikTok; We hope to raise $10,000. But the campaign has raised more than $270,000 from at least 8,000 donors as of Friday, February 24.

“My heart broke when I saw him in the lobby,” Grayson Thurman, the graduate student who launched the campaign, told KTEN. “No one his age should work, he should live the rest of his life in comfort. You know what I mean?”

After refusing to comment on the local media, James’ fellow classmate, Marti Yusko revealed that upon learning of their campaign launching success, he instantly replied “Oh it’s okay!” The fundraiser stayed open until Friday afternoon and concluded with a remarkable accomplishment.

James’ story underscores the extreme financial struggles of senior citizens in America.

By 2030, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the number of people 75 years or older engaged in work will increase by a whopping 96.5%! This age group is actually projected to be the only one with augmented representation in our workforce over the coming decade–a testament to both their resilience and ambition. In fact, millions of Americans are already working past what used to be considered the “retirement” age today.

While the average Social Security benefit was $1,546.59 last August.

“I have to work just to still be able to pay my regular bills,” Cathy Lueby, a teacher in her late 60s, told The Guardian in 2021.

According to the New Yorker, seniors in America are now among the swiftest-growing groups of student debtors. It’s estimated that 50+ individuals account for approximately 20 percent of all 45 million current borrowers with education loans. This population is compelled to keep working into their senior years just to pay off these debts – a worrying development indeed!

In 2021, Ted Newman, a retired Ohioan mentioned that he and his wife had been working full time for the past eight years since his retirement. His wife’s entire annual salary went to paying off her student debt while Mr. Newman handled additional financial responsibilities of their household–but as despite this immense effort still cannot afford to pay it all off in time before he passes away; thus he plans on defaulting due to increasing age and lack of funds.