Mr. Haze Mabry is a janitor at Pike County Elementary School. At the beginning of April, he celebrated his 80th birthday. Rather than finding garbage to clean up when he arrived that day, he found almost 800 students lining the hallways with handmade cards and banners, blowing noisemakers and singing happy birthday to him.
This story went viral since it appeared in The Washington Post. Mr. Haze was even recognized in ACEs Connection, an online blog about adverse childhood experiences. He was acknowledged as "[being] happy where he is" and "engaged in what he has turned into, a profoundly meaningful and purposeful work life, being a janitor in an elementary school."
Some quotes that were used online to recognize Mr. Haze's happiness are as follows:
"He’s the most loved person in this whole building,” said teacher Lori Gilreath, who planned his surprise.
“He won’t brag on himself, but it doesn’t matter what he’s doing or where he is, he will always stop what he’s doing to take care of a child if that child is having a bad day.”
Over the weekend, Mr. Haze said he was still working through the piles of homemade cards at his house. He wanted to be sure to read each one. One card from a student stood out to him. It read, “Mr. Haze, you are my sunshine.” "….I feel the same way about them,” he said. “They’re like my children,” Mabry said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I’m like the old lady in the shoe.”
Written and submitted by Mindy Carlisle, Public Relations Intern and PCHS senior