A man has shown that hard work and patience are powerful enough to change anybody’s life.

Gabe Sonnier walked as a janitor at Port Barre Elementary school for 25 years. One day in 1985, the principal of the school, Westley Jones, called him aside and told him that he would rather love to see him marking papers than cleaning around, Goal Cast reports.

Gabe said the principal’s words really touched him. At 39 years old, the man went to school.

He combined schooling with work, leaving little room for any leisure activities.

After getting a teaching degree, he was able to get his first job as a teacher in 2008 at Port Barre Elementary. He never stopped there; the man also got hisMaster’s degree.

Years after in 2013, he was promoted to the level of a principal, CBS reports.

An interesting thing is that despite his new level, the man still cleans his own office.

Speaking about his success, he said: “Don’t let the situation that you’re in now define what you’re going to become later. I always tell them it’s not where you start, it’s how you finish.”

Below are people’s reactions on Instagram:

christiegram__ said: “Lovely to aspire to something else but wrong with being a cleaner? The world needs them too!”

dreadreaoc said: “Two principals with exceptional principles.”

allyouneedisorange said: “One of the nicest people I remember from my childhood was the school janitor. He was a well-respected, gentle man. I remember him although I haven’t seen him in over four decades…”

jacob_the_snowman said: “And who better to run the school, frankly.”

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