It’s commencement season, so families and friends are flocking to various high schools and colleges to watch their loved ones graduate. While most graduates will get big hugs from their parents on graduation day, the same can’t be said for every student. Some students endure their entire college careers with little to no support. Some don’t even have a single person to cheer for them on their big day.
On May 11, 2019, Texas Christian University held their commencement ceremonies at the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. One Reddit user who was there noticed a man standing by himself in the arena atrium, applauding for every single person whose name was called that day.
The passerby wrote on Reddit:
“His name is Andrew. Works in janitorial.
I told him jokingly no one in the whole stadium was clapping more than him. He smiled, then his response:
‘Hey man, lot of these kids ain’t got nobody to support them. I never had anyone to support me, so I’m gonna make sure all these kids got somebody to support them and what they’ve done, even if it’s just me.'”
The Reddit user was floored by the response. 68-year-old Andrew Thomas is a retired Fort Worth city worker who helps out at big TCU events. Thomas recalled that he wanted to cheer for all the graduates because of something his daughter once told him.
“My daughter graduated in 2015… And she started telling me before the graduation we attended about kids. About being homeless, not having a family, and couch surfing, just doing whatever they had to do. And beyond all odds, they made it, they graduated. They didn’t have family there to congratulate them. They were there by themselves,” Thomas told ABC-affiliate WFAA.
The Reddit post has since gone viral and people all over the Internet are praising Thomas for his applause. He said, “All these young people. We don’t know what motivated them, we don’t know who they’ve got to support them, we just don’t know.”