A janitor at an Indiana elementary school has gone viral for his moving performance of the hit Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin’” — and recently grabbed the attention of Steve Perry himself, the original lead singer of the band and a co-writer of the song.
Richard Goodall, 53, of Terre Haute, Indiana, does custodial work for Davis Park Elementary School.
He’s been employed with the Vigo County School Corporation for over 20 years.
At the end of the school year, staff and students were celebrating the fifth-grade graduation with a talent show.
At the conclusion of the program, the teachers asked Goodall to step up to the mic to sing — a moment that, unbeknownst to Goodall, would wind up spreading joy across the internet.
“It was all organic,” Goodall, who’s also a father, told Fox News Digital.
“I plugged in ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and I just started singing and that’s what it was.”
The teachers at Davis Park know about Goodall’s talent — so they ask him to sing almost every year.
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Usually, he prepares a song like Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
But this year, he chose the 1981 Journey hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” to inspire the kids.
“I just wanted them to not stop believing and thinking they can do whatever they want,” Goodall said.
Going viral: ‘Never had this kind of response’
Mariah Denehie, a woman who works with one of the Davis Park students with special needs, posted a video of Goodall’s performance on TikTok, Goodall said.
While he was singing, Goodall saw Denehie with her phone pointed at him, so he knew she was either taking photos or a video.
The next day, while Goodall was cleaning and waxing the school floors, Denehie told Goodall that she posted a video of him on TikTok.
The footage by then had garnered 107,000 views.
“I’m looking at her like, ‘OK, is that good?’” Goodall recalled.
“And she goes, ‘I’ve never had that many.’”
“By the end of the weekend, it was at like a million,” Goodall added.
As of this week, the video has been viewed more than 3 million times.
Goodall had no clue he would go viral.
“I’ve never had this kind of response,” Goodall said, “I don’t know what to think of all this.”
The clip caught the eyes and ears of Steve Perry, the former lead singer of Journey who helped co-write “Don’t Stop Believin.’”
Perry responded to the video on Twitter on June 29, writing, “I love this.”
Perry also made the same comment on TikTok, where Goodall reposted the clip to his own profile.
Goodall responded, “Love your music sir!!! Thank you for commenting this means much to me!!! Thank you.”
Sang in his high school choir
Goodall has been singing for much of his life.
He sang in his high school choir.
Recently, he sang in a gospel choir for eight years until it shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.
Goodall said what he loves most about singing is that it gives something to others.
“I just like people to smile and have fun and forget their problems for three minutes and 30 seconds — however long the song is,” Goodall said.
After he went viral, Goodall did a virtual audition for the television show “The Voice.”
On the program, Goodall sang “Don’t Stop Believin’” again — but he was turned down.
He said he isn’t sure if he’ll audition for other performance shows.
He compared his viral fame to a roller coaster.
“When you first start out, you hear that clank, and then you hear clink, clink, clink — and then you just start going up. It feels like I’m going up and I’m not sure what’s going to come after that. It’s just kind of a wild ride that I’m not used to.”
Until something else comes up, Goodall is continuing to work as a janitor at Davis Park.
“I’m just a regular person,” Goodall said.
“I’m happy,” he added. “I’m so thankful that I have food in my belly and a roof over my head and that I’m warm in the winter and cool in the summer.”