High school janitor’s reaction to surprise Christmas gift goes viral

Though teenagers suffer a historically bad rap for being self-absorbed, one thoughtful group of Michigan high schoolers made a point to applaud someone special this holiday: their hardworking school janitor.

On Dec. 21, Garden City High School student Kenna Hermanson, Andrew Cortes, Summer Dyer and Lexi Horvath presented custodian Brian Junk with a Christmas gift, ClickonDetroit reports, but it’s his reaction that is getting all the attention.


“This is for you, you always go above and beyond for us, and you’re always happy and we just wanted to give you something,” Cortes says in a video of the surprise that has since gone viral on Facebook. “You guys are gonna make me cry,” a shocked Junk says as he hugs the students and exclaims in delight as he unwraps a new pair of work boots.

“Thank you! I need some really bad, too, look what I’m wearing,” Junk laughs, pointing to a pair of worn sneakers. “Thank you for your hard work,” a student chimes in, “No, thank you for being you guys,” Junk says in the clip, which has since been viewed over 95,000 times.


According to Hometown Life, Junk has served as custodial supervisor at the Garden City High School for nearly eight ears, and is beloved amongst the 1,200 students and fellow staff alike.

“Brian always goes above and beyond in our school. His approach is an excellent example of one person having an enormous impact on school culture,” Principal Derek Fisher told the outlet, adding that Junk is “irreplaceable” and a “huge asset” to the school community.  

The 56-year-old begins his days at 4:45 a.m., ensuring that every facet of the school building is in tip-top shape. “It could be toilets, electrical outlets, heating or cooling or a kid who just got sick,” said Junk of a typical day on the job. “Anything that you can possibly think of, it’s happened. There’s never a boring day for me. I love my job.”

As high school can be a rocky time, Junk encourages the students to think bigger picture, and dream big.

“I encourage them to look to their future. I encourage them to go to college,” he shared. “They are a great group of kids.”

Lucky for the Garden City high schoolers, they’ve got a great role model, too.