77-Year-Old Janitor’s Long-Kept Secret Revealed to the Entire School

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By: Kate Row | Published: Jan 21, 2023

Frances Buzzard is the beloved janitor of Belle Elementary School. The hard working 77-year-old woman works hard and connects with all the staff and students at the school.

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When the school principal takes a closer look into Frances’ file, she finds a secret that she reveals to the entire school. Frances is in for a big surprise.

Who is Frances Buzzard?

Frances Buzzard is the 77-year-old janitor at Belle Elementary School. The lively Frances enjoyed her days spent with the children of the school. Despite her age, she kept up with the kids and found fulfillment seeing them in the halls everyday.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She was loved by students, staff, and parents alike. Her age didn’t prevent her from doing an excellent job in her custodial duties and being friendly to the elementary schoolers as well.

Digging Into The Past

Belle Elementary School’s principal found herself digging into Frances’ past. Afterall, it is important that all staff members are thoroughly researched and signed off on.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She made a shocking discovery that she couldn’t have expected. Frances’ past held some secrets that were going to come to light.

They Asked The Students to Gather

The principal asked the teachers to gather all 200 elementary school students into the assembly hall. The secrets she had uncovered were not going to stay secret for long!

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She wanted all of the students to bear witness to the events which were about to unfold. She was excited to make this announcement to the school as a whole all at once.

She Called in Frances on the Loudspeaker

All the students were gathered in one place and they were uncharacteristically quiet, as if they knew something important was going to unfold.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

The principal called Frances on the loud speaker for all to hear. She asked her to join the school in the assembly hall as soon as possible. Frances was in for a huge surprise.

Frances Was a Bundle of Nerves

Unaware of what could be happening, Frances made her way to the assembly hall nervously. She wondered what the reason for the meeting was and why she was singled out on the loudspeaker. 

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She couldn’t even hazard a guess as to what this was all about and it made her nervous. Something seemed off and she was worried something was wrong.

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She Realized The Whole School Was Waiting on Her

When she approached the assembly hall door as a bundle of nerves, she realized that the entire school was inside waiting for her. She knew the assembly that was in progress had something to do with her and she feared it had something to do with job performance!

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

As a 77-year-old woman she knew that she was not the fastest-moving person up for the job. Had she done something wrong? Was she not fulfilling her job duties? Her mind was reeling.

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She Became Increasingly Nervous

As her thoughts started to race she realized that there would be 200 pairs of little eyes on her as soon as she stepped into the room. This was a fact that did not excite her!

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Frances was not one to be the center of attention and she did not relish in the idea of having so much attention on her at once, especially because she didn’t know what she had done to earn this attention.

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Was She Being Fired?

Naturally, the worst case scenario did cross her mind. Was she being fired? This was so out of the blue that she couldn’t help but wonder!

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She tried to calm herself down. If she was going to be let go, the principal surely would call her into her office to speak privately, right? She wouldn’t purposefully humiliate her in front of the entire school.

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She Steps Inside

There was only one way to find out the reason behind this whole scene, so she took a deep breath and stepped inside. She braced herself for the worst case scenario.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

What she found inside that assembly hall completely blindsided her and left her at a loss for words. In her wildest imagination she couldn’t have known what was waiting behind the door.

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The Big Surprise

All of her worries soon melted away entirely when she started to hear the children’s voices singing a familiar song: Happy Birthday! Frances was completely blown away and touched at the effort.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

Her birthday wasn’t even for another week, so it was extra surprising. She didn’t even know how they would have known that it was coming up! In fact, she wasn’t one to really celebrate her special day at all.

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The Most Heartwarming Part

She came to find out that the birthday surprise was all the students’ idea. They decided on their own that they wanted to do something special for their beloved custodian.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

So, the students had decided that they would do something special and the Principal took it upon herself to dig into her file to find when her birthday was. Interestingly, this was not the only thing she discovered…

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Frances’ Very First Birthday Party

When the Principal found out that Frances had never had a birthday party in her life, she knew that she had to immediately rectify the situation. This sweet, hard-working woman deserved a party!

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She made it her mission to make the party special because it was important that Frances know how appreciated her hard work was.

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The Party

They ordered custom personalized cupcakes and the staff got to work with their students. All of this was kept secret from Frances, of course!

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

They ordered custom personalized cupcakes and the staff got to work with their students. All of this was kept secret from Frances, of course!

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A Show of Appreciation

As Frances entered the hall, the kids sang Happy Birthday to her. She was overjoyed and that was only the beginning. The Principal exclaimed, “Surprise! Happy Birthday, Ms. Frances.”

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

They asked her to take a seat and played the slideshow that the kids orchestrated with the help of their teachers.

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The Tribute

The slideshow was an incredibly creative work of art. It featured photos of important events throughout history such as the moon landing and Woodstock. But what made it unique to Frances?

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

They had photoshopped images of Ms. Frances into these historical photos so it looked like she was there herself! It was a lovely way to appreciate her 77 years on this beautiful planet.

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Frances’ Reaction

Frances was so overwhelmed by the surprise and the thoughtfulness that the kids had put into this project that her eyes welled up with tears (happy tears, of course). 

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The panic she had felt earlier when her name had been called completely vanished and she was just grateful for the amazing party. Apparently she had never had a party before.

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Why Had She Not Had a Birthday Party Before?

It’s fairly uncommon for someone to never have had a birthday celebration. Apparently, Frances’ family fell on hard times when she was young so her parents couldn’t afford to throw big birthday bashes as they were working.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She explained, “I don’t remember any. They didn’t do things like that. We didn’t have Christmas parties either. They would get us fruits an donuts if they could afford it”. 

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She Wasn’t One to Complain

Although Frances had missed out on big celebrations over the years, she wasn’t the kind of person to complain. She explained that she was grateful for what she did have growing up.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

She stated that there were no birthday cakes or gifts but she understood why it was not possible. When she grew up and moved out of the house she just never made a big fuss about her birthday. 

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Why She Was So Loved By Staff

Frances was so beloved by the staff and students. The school counselor explained, “This lady is twice our age, but she does three times the work. She’s something else. Everybody just loves her. You can’t get to stop”. 

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

Her work ethic and positive attitude made her a pleasure to work with and be around. This woman needed to be celebrated, and she sure was.

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The Story Goes Viral

The story was so heartwarming that it went viral across the internet. It was televised by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and was quickly shared by thousands of people who were touched by the story.

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Source: Frances Buzzard/ Facebook

This meant Fracnes got many more birthday wishes than she had planned on. Thousands of people shared their wishes online. One Facebook commenter said, “That smile was so full of joy. Happy Birthday Miss Frances!”.

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More Positive Comments

There were so many wonderful commenters who shared in the excitement and celebration of Ms. Frances. Everyone got in on the birthday celebration!

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One commenter said, “This was such a heartwarming story for that lovely lady’s birthday. It was so special since she never had a party in her 77 years on this earth. So awesome.”

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It Inspired Others

The birthday surprise sparked inspiration in schools across the country. Similar stories began to pop up all over. People were inspired by the thoughtfulness!

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Haze Mabry is one such example where the school decided to go above and beyond to make sure that a staff member was appreciated.

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Who is Haze Mabry

Haze Mabry is the janitor at Pike County Elementary School. Haze is an impressive 80 years old and works day in and day out. He had been with the school for 13 years and loves his job!

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Source: Pike Elementrary/ Facebook

He has 3 children of his own who graduated from Pike County Elementary. Even though they graduated long ago, the students that come in and out of the school feel like his own!

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Making Him Feel Special

According to his staff, he has a special way of making the students feel special, similar to the lovely Ms. Frances. He’s regarded as “the most loved” person at the school. 

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Source: Pike Elementrary/ Facebook

That is the exact reason that students pulled together to do something special for the custodian. They organized a surprise that he never could have expected and would bring a tear to his eye.

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The Surprise

When Haze walked into the school on his birthday he was met with more than 800 smiling students chanting his name. He was completely taken aback.

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Source: Pike Elementrary/ Facebook

The kids started coming up to him one by one and giving him handwritten birthday cards and banners that read, “Happy Birthday!”. 

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He Couldn’t Even Hold All the Cards Himself

There were so many cards that he couldn’t even hold them all himself! A couple of students had to follow him through the throngs of students with buckets to help him gather them all.

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Source: Pike Elementrary/ Facebook

He was so truly grateful for the celebration that he insisted on hugging each student individually. Every single student that gave him a card received a warm hug and a genuine “thank you”. 

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The Internet Loved It

Like the story about Ms. Frances, the internet fell in love with Haze and the wonderful story about his birthday celebration from his students. Photos from the day were shared on the school’s social media page and it took off!

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Source: Pike Elementrary/ Facebook

The pictures had been shared to thousands of eyes and Haze received many more birthday wishes from people outside of the school.

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The Power of Kindness

There have since been more stories similar to this one of people finding ways to spread kindness to those who aren’t always appreciated. The ones who bring joy are often the ones who are overlooked.

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Belle Elementary School and Pike Elementary School were amazing examples of celebrating people who deserve some love. We hope to see many more similar stories in the future.

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A Reminder to Celebrate

It really is the little things that matter. Small birthday celebrations like these for the underappreciated staff members made lasting impressions.

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Source: Charleston Gazette/ Youtube

We should let this inspire us to do these kinds of things more often. We hope that Ms. Frances and Mr. Haze continue to celebrate their birthdays with this much love and warmth from here on out!

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