Mr. Filipaj

by Esmat

Gac Filipaj is a refugee from the former Yugoslavia. For the past twelve years, he has worked as a janitor for Columbia University. His job title is “Heavy Cleaner,” which includes emptying the trash and cleaning the toilets. During this time, he worked until 11pm every night during the week. After his shift concluded, he would start studying. This weekend, after twelve years of study, Gac graduated from Columbia University with a Classics degree. Rarely have so many qualities I admire been wrapped up in a single person.” – Humans of New York

His story makes me happy because it also took me 12 years to graduate – well, from elementary, middle and high school altogether. Though, I will say I had to go through a lot of quagmires, not only being sleep-deprived like Gac but also being bullied constantly. But we all see the good changes that the education brings, even the not-so-good-education.