There’s nothing like a random act of kindness to make someone’s day, or perhaps — for Herman Gordon — to make his whole summer.
Students at the University of Bristol joined together to raise £1,500 for Gordon, a cleaner at the university, to visit his family in Jamaica over the summer holidays.
And a video shared on social media, in which Gordon can be seen crying after receiving the gift, shows just how much it meant to him.
Here is the video of a Bristol University cleaner breaking down in tears after students fundraised £1500 for him and his wife to go on holiday this summer pic.twitter.com/em1Iaf5CDF— James Heale (@JAHeale) June 26, 2018
The students clipped the money to a letter, thanking Gordon “for all the positive energy you have given to us throughout the years.”
“You have brightened many of our days and we want you to know that we love and appreciate you,” added the letter, signed by “Bristol students.”
More than 230 people donated to the crowdfunding campaign to help raise the money for Gordon who, now in his 60s, has reportedly worked at the university for 12 years.
The gesture is made all the more significant as it comes hot on the heels of the so-called “Windrush scandal” — an outrage that arose over the treatment of people from the Windrush generation.
Gordon himself reportedly arrived in the UK as part of the Windrush generation, as a 12-year-old in 1967. The Windrush generation refers to immigrants from Caribbean countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, who were invited to the UK between 1948 and 1971 to address post-was labour shortages.
But in recent months, a furore arose that led to Prime Minister Theresa May telling the leaders of 12 Caribbean nations that she was “genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused.”
The scandal saw reports emerge about people — predominantly older people — being denied services, losing their jobs, and being threatened with deportation.
Many of the Windrush generation arrived as children, travelling on their parents’ passports. Despite being invited, many never formally became British citizens.
So when the UK government introduced its “hostile environment policy” on immigration, it led to an estimated 50,000 long-term UK residents being faced with difficulties, reported Al-Jazeera.
The students’ “thank you” gift to Gordon began with a Facebook praising him for being “the jolliest man I have ever met,” according to the BBC.
What a nice story. The students at Bristol University raised money for their hard working, very positive janitor. As they said "the jolliest man they know" and " "if you wanna reason to smile, go talk to him for a min or two".#HermanGordonhttps://t.co/CDoBL514oxpic.twitter.com/dWfW0HqZuN— Anna Brice (@annabrice) June 29, 2018
“He makes me smile even when I’m in the deepest depths of revision or trying to be,” it added, “if you wanna reason to smile go talk to him for a min or two.”
A student, later revealed to be Hadi Al-Zubaidi, then anonymously posted that they were thinking of starting a crowdfund so Gordon could visit his family this summer.
“Would anyone donate?” they asked.
Then, five days later on May 25, they posted again to say: “We are so close to reaching our £1,000 target of sending Herman to Jamaica!!!”
Al-Zubaidi told Newsbeat: “It just went crazy… He spends the whole time being nice to everybody, it’s about time we were nice to him.”
“I know that these students are studying,” Gordon also told Newsbeat. “You don’t want any negative vibes around them. They speak good things to me, I speak good things to them, and I bless them all.”
Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals. We believe the world needs people who are engaged, knowledgeable, and passionate about change. Ending extreme poverty requires information and ideas that inspire and motivate the global community to act — and there’s not a lot that’s more inspiring than kindness. You can join the movement by taking action here.