WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WTXF) - Students can often be labeled a lot of things and not all positive, but at West Chester University they’re trying to be selfless and positive as they come together to help a friend in need.
FOX 29’s Bill Anderson met a local food service worker who had no idea how much the students he serves loved him until they stepped up and rallied in his support, For Goodness Sake.
Darby and Lexi agree, “He’s definitely had a huge impact on us. I hope he knows that. I hope he knows that.”
They’re talking about John Berberich who works at Einstein Brothers Bagels, operated by Aramark for WCU Dining.
“Good morning, oh wise and sage one,” Berberich greeted a young customer.
“How are you?” she asked.
“Still ticking,” he responded.
Examples like that are why Berberich is well-known on campus for always having a positive word and for knowing nearly everyone’s name.
So when he forgot, the students knew something was wrong.
“He knew my name, what I ordered, down to what cream cheese I wanted on my bagel everyday but then he couldn’t even remember the first letter of my name,” one of the students sadly recalled.
Darby, Lexi and other students knew something was up with the man who spoke to them every day, often in one of the five languages that he speaks fluently -- but they had no idea how serious John’s issues were.
“About two months ago, I was in Chester County Hospital for an unrelated situation and they found out that I have a cerebral aneurysm,” he explained.
John continues to smile and greet the students but he’s facing some pretty dire decisions on his treatment.
“Either a craniotomy, where they go through the skull, or they insert a micro catheter in through the femoral artery into the brain,” he described. “Yeah, it’s brain surgery at the end of the day.”
When they found out, Darby, Lexi and another friend launched a Go Fund Me account and the WCU Loves John Facebook page to help with expenses. They made $8,000 in 24 hours, and $17,000 so far, on the way to a goal of $50,000.
John is typical for people who are good to others. He really didn’t know how to respond to people being so good to him.
“You find out these students, without telling you cared enough that they went out there on their own to try to help?” he asked surprised. “Absolutely amazing. People are donating money. I don’t even know them. I have students’ parents giving money. I never met these people.”
But they know him and they just want John to know he has meant more to the students than he could ever know.
“He just made me feel so welcome, and I feel like he’s done that for everyone. He’s definitely had a huge impact on us,” Darby and Lexi said.
The students are committed to raising $50,000 through a series of events so John knows his years of love are not forgotten and he’s not alone.
Finding goodness when faced with serious medical concerns can be tough, but that’s what John doing.
“I appreciate that and I can’t tell you the support I’ve been getting from everybody involved,” he said.