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Former School Custodian Invents Shovel for Seniors

January 25, 2024

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a former school custodian in Vancouver has designed snow shovel for seniors—out of his own necessity and a few pieces of junk.

Paul Rebucal, who retired from his janitorial job at John Norquay Elementary in Vancouver last December, initially came up with idea as a way to help himself. As an older adult with a bad back, he wanted to make his job of shoveling snow quicker and easier.

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” he told CBC. My work…Its custodial and janitorial, and sometimes it’s not fun. But because of my inventions, I had a lot of fun at the school.”

Rebucal repurposed various pieces of junk he found at the school to create the new shovel, which uniquely rolls on wheels and dumps snow via an easy-to-lift lever.

According to the article, inventing is nothing new for Rebucal, who has been doing it since he was a young boy in his native country of the Philippines. “I made my own toys back home when I was a boy,” he said. “It’s a hobby for me.”

Other recent inventions of his include a lunch table lifter, which relies on hockey sticks, and a lever to safely fold school lunch tables. He also obtain a patent in the early 1980s when he was still in the Philippines for a bicycle that could be folded for storage.

Before leaving his job at the school, Rebucal was invited to speak to the students about his inventions and creativity. “You can always improve anything,” he told the students, “You find a need… and develop something that will meet the need.”

Check out the video of the CBC interview with Rebucal here.

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