Andreas Graf, 36, works as an assembly worker with a design company in Marburg, a town right next to his home in the town of Fronhausen in the central German state of Hesse.
When his 3-year-old son Julius was diagnosed with leukemia, the boy had to spend the first 9 weeks of treatment, bed-ridden at the hospital.
Andreas and his wife took turns caring for the boy but tragedy stuck even before the kid was out of the hospital: his wife died of heart disease.
With his wife’s death, Andreas also stands to lose his job at the design company because he had to take extended leaves as there was no one else to care for the boy. He had already taken all his annual leave at work but still needs more time.
HR manager Pia Meier noticed this dad’s trouble and decided to do something never been done before: she sent a memo to the company’s workers, appealing for Andreas’ fellow employees to donate their overtime to the struggling dad.
While the memo wasn’t compulsory, all the company’s 650 workers willingly donated overtime to Andreas. They were able to pool 3,300 hours of overtime for him, allowing him to take a year off in paid leave to care for his son.
“There isn’t a single person who hasn’t donated,” the HR manager revealed. Even people who haven’t met Andreas personally had come forward to donate their overtime.
What a beautiful show of love and solidarity for a struggling coworker, right?
Thanks to his colleagues’ donation of time, Andreas was able to take the year off to personally take care of Julius. Thankfully, the boy is much better now.
“Without this tremendous help, I would’ve been out of a job by now,” Andreas said.
Julius recently turned 5 at the end of February. He is feeling well enough to be released from the hospital and, hopefully, start nursery school soon.