Custodian worked graveyard shift for 23 years for the best reason

Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy
Contributing Writer

In our current culture, millennials move from job to job in order to climb the ladder. The average time spent at a company is just two years. For baby boomers and other generations, this has not been the norm. Loyalty and dedication to a single company or career drove, and still drives, much of their working lives. AOL’s original series Lifers features these dedicated, loyal workers who have been in their jobs for years and years. Will they retire? Are they prepared to?

Fred Vautour, 63, of Waltham, Mass., grew up in a broken home and without a lot of support, and his childhood experiences drove his choices later in life: He knew that he wanted to work “not just for the money but because you want to be your best at what you do.”

Vautour ultimately took a job at Boston College as a janitor on the overnight shift. All five of his children went on to be accepted at the prestigious New England college — and because of their father’s employment there, they were able to go to school completely free of tuition.

Vautour’s job has saved his family more than $700,000 in tuition.

Working the graveyard shift — or from midnight to 7 a.m. each day — Vautour has been on the job for 23 years, and in that time he has missed only three and a half days of work.

“You never really get used to working the night shift, but you just adjust to it,” Vautour explains.

He notes that his commitment to his job was about understanding the value of its benefits — primarily, free college tuition for his children — over the pursuit of opportunities for higher wages. And getting to see his two daughters and three sons all graduate without student debt has been immeasurably rewarding.

“He is so passionate about work and about getting us to be the best people we can be,” Vautour’s daughter Amy says. After completing her undergraduate degree at BC, Amy ultimately went on to earn her master’s degree from Boston College too, in higher education.

His daughter Alicia, the youngest of his five children and who earned a degree in nursing from the school where her father has worked all these years, agrees: “The biggest thing I learned from him was dedication.”

For his part, Vautour says he hopes that one day his grandchildren will know that their grandfather “did a lot on my own” — and that his hard work was seen and appreciated by his children, who are passing down those values to their own children now too.

“It’s the trickle-down effect,” Vautour explains.

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