“Good Morning America” Honors Mr. Tylan Bailey
By Carla Parker
Briar Vista Elementary School physical education teacher and former Hightower Elementary School head custodian Tylan Bailey was showered with surprises and gifts by “Good Morning America” and celebrities on July 12.
During the live show, “Jungle Cruise” stars Emily Blunt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson surprised Bailey and his family with an invitation to the California premiere of their new movie, as well as a roundtrip flight to California, plus hotel rooms and park passes at Disneyland. Bailey was also surprised with an at-home Echelon bike and treadmill, as well as a $15,000 donation from Echelon to Briar Vista.
“Good Morning America” contacted DeKalb County School District’s Communications Department in June wanting to share Bailey’s story with its audience and surprise him with gifts. The department coordinated with “GMA” producers, Bailey’s family, the principals at Briar Vista and Hightower and other district staff to pull off the grand surprise for Bailey at Blackhall Studios in Atlanta.
Bailey told “GMA” reporter T. J. Holmes that his family and friends know that he is a prankster and a jokester.
“This is the biggest prank ever,” Bailey said. “I feel blessed to have a community, a family of people who really supported me throughout this journey.”
“GMA” aired a video of interviews that “GMA” conducted with Bailey’s family and coworkers weeks prior to the surprise event. The interviews took place at Hightower Elementary, where Bailey served as head custodian for 23 years.
Bailey went back to school in 2017 at the age of 39, enrolling at Georgia State University. He worked his full-time job while working to earn his bachelor’s degree in physical education, which he received in May.
“I have this saying—meet your blessing half way. Your blessings will come to you if you go for it,” Bailey said. “Sometimes we want blessings, we want them to come to us, but just meet them halfway and you’ll get there.”