A gold watch wasn’t enough for a security guard with a heart of gold.
Kifleab Tekle received a check for $183,179 from former students and parents at a private celebration at The Hockaday School in Dallas, on Monday.
Tekle, who retired after working as a security guard at the school for 30 years, was regarded as the “Hagrid of their Hogwarts” according to The Dallas Morning News, and most students were appreciative of his good sense of humor, jokes and smile, as well as his commitment to his job.
“If you've ever been to Hockaday, you've seen Kief,” Amy Patrick, an alumna who enrolled at the school in 1986 -- the same year that Tekle began working there -- said on the GoFundMe page. “He's the one who knows your name, even after 15 years away from campus. He's the one who kept tabs on you and made sure you were safe.”
Many of Dallas’ wealthiest families sent their daughters to Hockaday, including the Bushes and the Cubans, Dallas Morning News reported.
The idea to raise money as a gift for Tekle’s retirement was initially a project led by Hockaday’s graduating class of 2005, with an original goal of raising $2,005. Just five days after the fundraiser's launch, that project had already brought in more than $150,000 -- far exceeding initial expectations.
“I had no idea it would get to this point,” Abby Hoak-Morton, a 2005 graduate who created the page, told The Dallas Morning News.
The GoFundMe Page was also chock-full of comments from former students expressing their gratitude:
"Thank you so much Kief for always being a bright face in the morning when I arrived, and a positive one when I left," alumna Bobbie Villareal wrote.
As for Tekle, he was not expecting such a grand goodbye but is extremely grateful for the gift.
“It means stability for my family,” Tekle said in a statement sent to The Dallas Morning News. “The school is my life.”