A wise man once said, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only you remember to turn on the light.” For most people, the holiday season is their favorite time of the year. The snow, the colors, the lights, and the food, it all adds up to a time of celebration. However, there are also people who might not have a reason to be happy. But you know what they say, the most extraordinary things can happen to the most ordinary people.

This story is about one such ordinary man who works as a janitor at a high school in Detroit, Michigan. One fine December evening, the man was just about to wrap up at work, when he heard a peculiar sound. On inspection, he found a carton waiting for him on the steps outside the school. What followed next, was a series of events he could have never seen coming.

Ronald Brown Academy

The broad corridors of Ronald Brown Academy were dark and empty on a chilly December evening. The roar of the recess bell was replaced by silence. The chaos of a thousand footsteps during the day was replaced by the sound of the footsteps of one man. The School Janitor. 

Late Night

The low murmur of the December winds could be heard in the silence despite the closed windows. The janitor was still working at this hour, mopping the floors of the filthy locker room. He hated cleaning the locker rooms. They always smelled like deodorant and sweat, no matter how much he cleaned it. He couldn’t even remember the original color of these floors.


He checked off ‘the locker room’ from his mental checklist. He had cleaned, and mopped the entire school, restocked the cleaning supply, repaired the leaking pipe in the girl’s restroom, cleaned up the spilled food in the cafeteria and now all that was left to do was water the plants, and throw out the trash.


Not that he was in a hurry to go home. Going back to an empty house at the end of a long day was not his favorite thing to do. But ever since his wife passed away, almost 3 years ago, he has been on his own. They never had kids, so now it was just him and the old house that reminded him of her every second of every day he spent in it. 

No Income

He had thought about moving houses more often than he would like. But there were multiple reasons behind not doing it. Firstly, he didn’t have the money to buy a new place or even rent one for that matter. Secondly, despite the pain of memories in this place, they were memories regardless and he didn’t want to let go of that.

The Holiday Season

He is not always this upset, but this time of the year usually gets a little more lonely and difficult to get by. Not to say that the janitor hated the holiday season, but he wasn’t a fan either. The holiday season is all about sharing the joy with your family, being with the people you love. But he only had a bottle of whiskey to keep him company.