On Tuesday, Piers Morgan used his "Only in America" segment to extol the virtues of elbow grease, telling the tale of a man who traded "in a mop and pail for a cap and gown."
Solidyifying his sentiment that the United States is a land of oppurtunity, the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host introduced viewers to a European refugee making the most of his move to America:
"Gac Filipaj did not speak a word of English when he fled war-ravaged Yugoslavia in 1992," explained Morgan. "After arriving in New York, he worked as a busboy, he took high school classes, and hoped to one day graduate college."
In an effort to attend a top college, a year later Gac visited Columbia upon advice from a friend. His trip to campus yielded a job as a custodian, and in 2000, he began juggling janitorial duties with learning languages:
"Gac scrubbed the floors all day and on sometimes as little as an hour of sleep, studied on the way home on the train home. Ancient Greek was tough for him, Latin considerably easier."
Now, twenty years since leaving Yugoslavia, Columbia is no longer his work-place, but also, his alma mater:
"This past weekend, at the age of 52, Gac graduated with honors from the Ivy League school," detailed Morgan. "He celebrated with a brandy, and with a pledge, to keep on working and learning."
Aiming to achieve a masters, and later a doctorate, Gac still works as a Columbia custodian, and mails money to his family back home.
In the words of Morgan, Tuesday's story sums up precisely the theme for which the segment was created: "Gac Filipaj is bursting with pride at what he does and what he's achieved. We should all be bursting with pride, for him, for "Only in America" can his story even be told."
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