On Friday, the intersection by Latimer Road Elementary School was loud and busy, but not just because it was the last day of school before the winter break.
The day before, crossing guard Terrence Pitts was recognized as one of three of “Canada’s Favourite Crossing Guard.”
As community members drove by they yelled and waved out their windows to congratulate Pitts, while others simply honked their horns as they continued on.
Children stopped by with gifts and Christmas cards for him as well.
“It’s awesome. The community is such great sports. Everybody is always waving and the kids are just happy,” said Pitts.
Parachute, a national charity “dedicated to injury prevention,” started the Canada’s Favourite Crossing Guard in 2005, with FedEx Express Canada “to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of dynamic crossing guards who help keep our children safe.”
The three winners, Pitts, Bill Conway in St. John’s, N.L. and Al Leonard in Thunder Bay, Ont., each received a $500-cheque and an engraved trophy. The winners’ schools also receive $500.
In a release from Parachute, Pitts’ nomination said “Terrence brings energy and safety, and a huge sense of community to our school. He waves and dances for every car that passes by and puts a smile on everyone’s face.
“He makes others feel special, by greeting everyone and asking how they are doing; he tips his hat to every passing car and is never without a huge smile, waving throughout his entire shift.”
Parachute said there were 56 nominations across Canada, and since the start of the contest, 45 crossing guards nationwide have been honoured.
Pitts said he wasn’t initially aware that he was nominated – or a finalist – until someone tagged him in a post on Facebook.
“I’m just grateful to have this,” he said. “It’s awesome.”
Pitts, who lives within walking distance of the school, has been a crossing guard at Latimer Road Elementary School since May 2019, he said.
“It was my stepdad that actually found the job, and I ended up giving it a shot,” Pitts explained. “I love this.”
Asked how he thinks he’s managed to leave such an impact on students and parents, Pitts said his goal is to “just be positive and happy.”