Bristol Uni students raise £1,500 to send cleaner on holiday

By Gena-mour Barrett
Newsbeat reporter

Image source, Hadi Al-Zubaidi
Image caption,
Herman Gordon said it's important to keep away "negative vibes"

A cleaner at the University of Bristol has been gifted £1,500 after students crowdfunded the money to send him to Jamaica.

The money was raised to fund a week's trip for Herman Gordon and his wife to visit family.

"He is the epitome of happiness," the JustGiving page where over 230 supporters donated money says.

A video of Herman being surprised with the money was later shared online and shows him breaking down in tears.

The gift was accompanied by a note addressed from "Bristol Students", which thanked Herman for his "positive energy" over the years.

"You have brightened many of our days and we want you to know that we love and appreciate you."

Media caption,
An emotional Herman was surprised with the gift - and it was all caught on video

Herman has worked at Bristol University as part of the cleaning staff for 12 years.

In terms of the positivity that so many students praise him for, Herman told Newsbeat it's important to keep away "negative vibes".

"I know that these students are studying. 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."

According to an admin from the Bristruths Facebook page (an anonymous "truth" page for Bristol University), the idea for Herman's trip came from a Facebook post.

"It all started with this post on the 19th May," they told Newsbeat.

Image source, Bristruths

The initial post called Herman "the jolliest man I have ever met" and said "if you wanna reason to smile, go talk to him for a min or two".

A day later, Hadi Al-Zubaidi, a 20-year-old medicine student at Bristol, anonymously posted that he was starting a crowdfunding page for him.

Image source, Bristruths

Within five days, he'd almost reached his target.

Image source, Bristruths

"It just went crazy," Hadi told Newsbeat. "I myself was shocked that he was this famous!"

Hadi has chatted with Herman numerous times, but soon decided "he deserved more than just conversations".

"He spends the whole time being nice to everybody, it's about time we were nice to him."

Herman said that he was overcome with emotion when he received the money from the students.

He'd never mentioned anything about wanting to go away, so receiving the money was "out of the blue".

"I don't know if you know that song - 'Many a tear has to fall/But it's all in the game'," he said.

"That's what happened. A lot of tears."

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