Last Thursday, Eddie Almeida arrived at the George Sherman Union at 11 pm to begin his regular overnight shift as lead custodian. He mopped floors, emptied trash, and neatly tucked chairs under tables. But instead of heading home to Malden, Mass., at the end of his shift at 7 am Friday as he usually does, Eddie changed into a suit and walked the three blocks to Agganis Arena to his son’s College of Communication Convocation. Andrew Almeida, Eddie’s son, received a bachelor’s degree in cinematography and film and video production. It was the culmination of years of hard work for both father and son.
Throughout the semester, BU Today video producer Bill Politis has followed Andrew (COM’18) and 10-year BU employee Eddie, focusing on their close relationship.
Andrew often calls his dad before his shift starts or meets up with him for a late dinner. He says it’s been great having his dad so close. “If things got too hectic at school or I was under too much stress, I could just wait ’til nighttime, walk down to the GSU, talk to him, and put all of that behind me. And he taught me a lot, like no matter how hard my day is, to just wake up tomorrow and keep doing my best.” Andrew plans to spend the summer working in BU’s 10-week Los Angeles Internship-Only Program.
Eddie took advantage of BU’s employee tuition remission program, which allowed him to send his daughter, Monica Almeida (COM’15), and Andrew to BU at a 90 percent discount.
“I don’t think I’d be here without him,” Andrew says. “We aren’t in a financial spot to attend a University like this. But as a student, I see firsthand how people often take for granted how messy the GSU can become and all the hard work it takes to get it clean and back to new each night. I think the men and women doing this shift don’t get as much praise because there are no students around at night to see them doing the hard work.”
Waiting with Andrew’s mother for their son outside Agganis Arena after COM’s Convocation ceremony Friday morning, Eddie kept brushing away tears. “It feels great,” he said. “I’m not tired—I’m excited. I didn’t go to college so I’m very proud.” As Andrew filed out with the rest of his classmates, he made a beeline straight to his dad and gave him a big hug.