High school custodian provides unlikely service

EULESS, Texas -- Being a custodian here at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas isn't exactly the most important job in America -- but don't tell that to the custodian.

"If I clean a toilet, and you sit on that toilet, you can rest assured that's the cleanest toilet you'll ever sit on," said Charles Clark.

Clark takes his job that seriously. But his greatest asset has nothing do with his cleaning - it's his counseling.

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Charles Clark, left, speaking to Jesse Walehwa, right
CBS News

Not long after he started at Trinity 25 years ago, Charles Clark began pulling kids aside. Kids he thought might be falling through the cracks. Kids he thought might need a little mentoring. Kids like 17-year-old Jesse Walehwa.

"Mr. Clark has been looking out for me ever since I been here," Walehwa told me. "I can tell Mr. Clark anything. I know he's going to give me his honest opinion. He's very wise, very loving."

"They've never had a man tell them they love them before," said Clark. "Once they trust you and they know you love them you can get them to buy in to what you're selling."

Clark says most of his clients come from the school's counselors.

Peggy McIntyresa is a clinical counselor at Trinity with a Masters in social work -- but she says Charles has a better way with certain kids.

"He's worked with a lot of our students here who ended up going to college - ended up doing really well," McIntyre told me. "He gets results, he sure does."

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Charles Clark speaks to a student
CBS News

By all accounts, this custodian has helped dozens of kids turn their lives around -- not because it was his job, but because it needed to be done. And there's a lesson in there for anyone who feels trapped by their title.

"You going to tell me I don't have a good life?" said Clark. "This custodial thing is working good for me."


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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.