West Bloomfield elementary school raising money to buy car for custodian who walks 9 miles to and from work

Posted at 11:01 AM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 11:01:03-04

The Doherty Elementary School family is helping one of their own in a very special way.

Andrea Smith is the custodian at Doherty Elementary in West Bloomfield. The principal and teachers say you’d never see her without a smile on her face. However, behind that smile, Smith is dealing with obstacles, including walking or even biking nine miles to work everyday.

So the school started a GoFundMe page to help Smith get reliable transportation to and from work.

"It means a lot to me," Smith said. "It’s amazing what people can do for you."

School may be over but the teachers and principal at Doherty Elementary School have one last surprise for one of their own.

"She does so much for our school, we just want to be able to give her transportation to give her a viable way to get to school," said Scott Long, principal at Doherty Elementary.

Teachers say Smith arrives early and leaves late,and always has a smile on her face.

"(She) checks on all the teachers, makes sure everyone is happy and good," said Melody Loeffler, a teacher at Doherty. "She is constantly smiling (and) helping the kids."

You’d never know about the struggles and hardships she faces everyday, including walking nine miles from her home in Pontiac just to get to work. Action News reporter Alan Campbell drove the route Smith takes, and it took 23 minutes. Walking, Smith says it takes about four hours.

"It would be a lot less stressful having to worry about getting back and forth to work everyday, trying to be up at 3 in the morning trying to walk," Smith said.

A GoFundMe was set up to get enough money for Smith so she could purchase a car, a gesture the Doherty family says was the right thing to do.

"No matter how difficult the job is, she will always do it because she cares about our school and about the kids that go there," Long said.

Doherty Elementary School is a close family. This was just one way to help out one of their own, who does so much for everyone else.

"It’s the Doherty family, they’re family to me and I just love it and adore all of them to death, and love coming in and all the kids with smiling faces," Smith said.

In about a month, the Doherty Elementary family will get together with Smith to get her that car.