Jonathan Holley was fired from his job as a school janitor last year when he left work eight minutes early, but now the Georgia man is getting a second chance at success after video of his firing went viral.
Holley was the longtime custodian at Webb Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. He was fired in 2016 after showing up for work 15 minutes early to let firefighters into the school and then decided to clock out a little early.
Video of his firing — and his apparent berating from principal Susan Opferman — went viral after it was uploaded to Reddit late on Thursday. The video garnered hundreds of thousands of user votes and shot to the top of the link-sharing site before moderators had to lock down comments when users turned on the principal for seemingly talking down to the polite janitor.
— Reddit Tweets (@RedditRental) May 12, 2017
— Laslo Keeblers (@LKLK2020) May 12, 2017
Most of those commenting sympathized with Jonathan Holley, noting that the principal didn’t handle the situation very well considering he only left a few minutes early after having started the day even earlier. Others pointed out that the principal seemed to talk to Holley as if he were one of her students, while the janitor was polite in his responses.
But most seemed confused as to how he could possibly be fired for what seemed like such a small infraction.
“Well that spiked my blood pressure,” one commenter wrote. “Don’t know about context but Eight. Whole. Minutes. I guess she’d prefer her employees twiddle their thumbs.”
The post generated a number of submissions on other boards on Reddit and thousands of more supportive comments, and within hours there were stories hitting the internet about the janitor’s firing. An article from Heavy.com identified the janitor as Jonathan Holley and named Susan Ofperman as the principal, while others shared his video and story across social media.
However, within hours, Reddit sprung into action to find a positive side to the story. As it turned out, Jonathan Holley the manager for an amateur rapper and had uploaded one of his songs on his YouTube page. This submission garnered thousands more user upvotes and, after some initial confusion about whether Holley was actually the one doing the rapping, users helped make the janitor’s rapping friend find the spotlight. Many promoted the video, others subscribed to Holley’s page (taking it from just a few dozen to close to 1,000 in total).
There were others trying to help Jonathan Holley more directly, including some who floated the idea of starting a GoFundMe page to offer him a bit of compensation for his troubles.
Of course, being Reddit, there was also a darker side to the story. The site famous for inciting witch hunts against unpopular targets also launched a campaign of harassment against Opferman, including sending angry messages that appeared to prompt the principal to (at least temporarily) de-active her Twitter account.
There were others who pointed out that the short video may not have shown the full story, and that there may have been more to Holley’s firing than the one incident alone.
But those views were in the minority, and the majority of commenters were trying to pay Jonathan Holley back from what appeared to be his unwarranted firing. Whether that goes beyond supporting his rap artist or talking about GoFundMe pages remains to be seen, but there is a chance he could come back into the spotlight. There was currently a request for Jonathan to hold an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit, and someone claiming to know the fired janitor said he would be up for it.
[Featured Image by surpasspro/iStock]