Woman's World

When their school janitor’s car was stolen, these students bought him a new one!

Bill Manning is always helping students find lost gym bags, phones and jewelry. So when the beloved high school janitor lost his car, the kids found a way to make things right for him!

- —Bill Holton

Have you seen my gym bag? My phone and wallet are in it!” Arvada, Colorado, high school junior Marcel Sobhi panicked.

“Maybe you left it in the library,” someone suggested, and Marcel made a quick pivot to go check. That’s when he all but collided with school janitor Bill Manning.

“This what you’re looking for?” the custodian asked, offering Marcel the bag he’d found sweeping up the locker room.

“You’re a lifesaver!” Marcel smiled. Then, raising his bag high, he shouted, “Hey, everyone! Wild Bill comes through again!”

Maybe this will help you find a great new ride!

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama

It wasn’t the first time “Wild Bill”—who’d earned his nickname cheering extremely loudly at the Arvada High Bulldogs’ games—had saved the day. For 15 years at Arvada High, he spent hours of his own time locating lost books, sweatshirt­s, keys and even school rings for the kids he thought of as family.

One Friday, after cheering at a Bulldogs’ football game, Wild Bill returned home to clean up before going out for the evening. But when he went out to his car, his parking space was empty! His beloved car had been stolen!

“I was only gone 20 minutes! And I locked it—i know I did!” he told the police.

“We’ll do our best, but we’ve had a rash of unsolved car thefts lately,” the cops admitted.

Bill had scrimped and saved for years to buy that Denver Bronco blue Ford Fiesta, the first car he’d ever owned. He loved it so much, he kept it showroom pristine, vacuuming, washing and waxing it regularly.

That Monday morning, Wild Bill showed up at school without his car and got to work without his usual greetings of “Good morning!” and high-fives.

“Are you okay?” senior Ian Fonseca asked, and Bill’s eyes welled with tears as he told Ian his car had been stolen.

“What about insurance?” one of Ian’s friends asked when he shared the news.

“They never pay what a car’s worth,” Ian sighed. And that’s when he had an idea.

Wild Bill’s car was stolen! Can you help? he posted on the school’s Facebook page.

Almost immediatel­y, students began stepping up.

I can skip the movies to help Wild Bill, said one.

That video game can wait. Bill needs help! another typed.

Birthday money and allowances came pouring in.

“We’ve already raised more than $800!” Ian told the school librarian, Heather Anderson. Together they decided to expand their plea with a GoFundme campaign.

Bill has given so much of his heart to our school. Now we have an opportunit­y to give back, Ian wrote, and the students dug deeper into their pockets.

Touched by the kids’ willingnes­s to give—and Wild Bill’s own kindness—the school staff matched the donations.

We love you, Bill! science teachers Rick and Leslie Durant commented.

I’ve never met a more selfless, enthusiast­ically helpful man. You are AHS’S best cheerleade­r, Bill. Thanks for all you do! a former drama teacher noted.

After just two days, the school librarian and Ian printed a giant check for $4,000 to help their friend replace his stolen car.

“I need you to come in early tomorrow,” Principal Gina Rivas told the janitor.

The next day, when she led him to the library, the students burst into cheers of “Wild Bill!”

“We couldn’t find your car like you always find our things, but maybe this will help you find a great new ride,” Ian said, handing Bill the check.

“For me?” Bill gasped. Pooling the kids’ donations with his insurance payout, Wild Bill was able to buy a 2016 Chevy Trax, this one in Denver Bronco orange!

“My kids come first in my heart. To know they love me as much as I love them . . .” he chokes back tears. “I always try to put a smile on their faces, and boy, did they put a smile on mine!”

 ??  ?? “That these kids gave up their own money so I could get a new car . . . they are the best!” says Wild Bill.
“That these kids gave up their own money so I could get a new car . . . they are the best!” says Wild Bill.
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