Andreas Graf was just 36 years old when his three year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. A short while after his little boy’s diagnosis, Andreas’ wife died from heart disease. Understandably, Andreas was absolutely devastated. How was he going to handle it all? He needed to be with his son in the hospital, but he also needed to work to provide for his family.
At first, he used all his vacation days to spend as much time with this son as he could, but that wasn’t enough. He needed more time to grieve, and to be by his son’s side as he fought for his life in the hospital.
Andreas was afraid he was going to lose his job, and he had already lost so much. Fortunately, HR manager Pia Meier wasn’t going to let Andreas lose his job. She was already worried about him and knew he was dealing with so much that the last thing he should have to worry about was his job. So she came up with a plan and went on her way to involve all his co-workers.
She asked them all if they would be willing to willing to donate overtime hours to Andreas, so he could spend more time with his son. She figured those who knew him well would do it and hoped a few others might, as well. To her surprise, all 650 employees of the company stepped up to donate their overtime to Andreas. Many of them didn’t even know him personally. In two weeks, they racked up 3,264.5 hours to donate to him. Andreas was able to use those hours as paid leave and took a year off of work to grieve and care for his sick son.
When Andreas found out what they had done for him, he was in tears. This was just the perfect blessing for him at that moment. He couldn’t believe how thoughtful and kind his colleagues were being, especially those who didn’t even know him.
Thankfully, his young son, Julius, was able to beat the leukemia and got to leave the hospital after finishing chemotherapy. He turned 5 in February and is hoping to start school soon.
It would have been much harder for him to have kept his job, paid his bills, dealt with the grief of losing his wife, and at the same time be able to stay with his son in the hospital, but thanks to the kindness and thoughtfulness of his colleagues, his burden became a little more bearable.