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Someone You Should Know: Josh Apo

Josh Apo is someone you should know (WHAM photo)

Pittsford, N.Y. (WHAM) - In any school, it’s not only the teachers who teach. At one local middle school, students learn valuable lessons from the man who cleans the floors.

Everyone at Barker Road Middle School knows Josh Apo, and we think that makes him Someone You Should Know.

When we met Josh, we had to ask, how many of us are as happy at work as he is?

“When you give, you get it back,” a smiling Josh told 13WHAM. “All I have to do is be nice and respect all of them. And I love all of them – the little ones, the big ones. When they make a mess, my job is to take care of it, and I’m going to do it with the same face you see now.”

The kids at the school love Josh. So do the parents. He’s a daily example of work ethic and contentment. And it all becomes more meaningful when you know how his story started.

Josh came to the U.S. from Haiti in 1980 on a crudely-made boat crammed with 62 people. On the 18-day journey, Josh says cans of Carnation milk kept them alive.

“We split it between all 62 of us,” he said. “Little drop in the thing, you lick it and you feel better. This milk is so think, you lick it a little of it in your hand, you can make it for next day.”

How he made it from poverty in Haiti to a happy life here as an American citizen is all in Josh’s new book. A Pittsford school parent was so inspired by him that she helped with the project.

“And he understands what his faith and his positivity, how that has enriched his life and he wants so much to give that gift to these kids, too” said Julie Smutko Daughtery

When asked how it feels to see his name on the front of the book, Josh said, “That feeling? I cannot explain it. But I gotta tell you, I feel great!”

Josh still takes care of his family, including his mom in Haiti, who taught him to never let the sun catch him in bed. And it rarely does.

Josh has this job and several others. Work helps make his dreams come true.

“When I was little, I had a dream one day I was going to be somebody stronger, or somebody that had a better life than the rest of my family,” he tells students at Barker Road.

So, back to that question from earlier: How is it that someone can be as happy as Josh is, even at work?

It seems, for some, happiness is less about circumstance than it is a choice.

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