Employees of a German company have collectively worked an additional 3,300 hours so that their colleague could look after his son who is suffering from leukemia. Single dad Andreas Graff is an assembly worker at a design company in Hesse. He has been off work for almost a year following his son Julias’ diagnosis.
“I first took my entire vacation, because we did not know what to expect, then I thought: Holiday is gone at some point, and then you will eventually terminate or be terminated,” he said, as reported by Hessenschau.
“Without this great support, I would be unemployed,” Mr Graff told local paper, Oberhessische Presse. Over 700 company employees responded to a message sent out by a manager regarding Graff’s situation. With the combined support of senior management and the workers union, HR manager Pia Meier called on employees of Seidel and its subsidiary Carus in Fronhausen in central Germany to contribute to an overtime fundraiser for the father.
“The reaction of our employees was incredible,” she told Oberhessische Presse.
Within just two weeks of posting sign-up sheets, a total of 3,264.5 hours were collected.
“There is no-one who has not donated,” Ms Meier added. “We maintain good contact with our employees, and when that happens, it’s very clear we will not let anyone down.”
One employee, Ikbal Sezer, had experienced the generosity of his colleagues first-hand. He also got help a few months ago after his house was destroyed in a fire. His fellow workers raised money and the management doubled the amount. “So I did not have to think for a second to help Andreas,” he said.
When Mr Graff realized that the generosity of his colleagues, many of whom he had never met, enabled him to take a year off to care for Julias, he wept with joy. However, more tragedy was about to beset this burdened family. After 9 months of treatment, Mr Graff was getting ready to bring his son home, when his wife died of heart disease.
Despite the heartache, the family are managing to get by, not least because of the incredible support from his workplace. Julius, who turns five at the end of February, is continuing his treatment at home as Andreas plans a phased return to work. But with around 1000 donated working hours still on his timesheet, he can afford to take it at his own pace.