Did you hear? The crossing guard is handing out five dollar bills!
Kids leaving Newberry Elementary School (NES) on Wednesday were all a buzz with the news that crossing guard Wayne Williams was rewarding the best behaved students of the 2020-21 school year with cash for their politeness.
While some teachers were giving out goodie bags filled with treats and crayons or toys and stickers on the last day of school, Williams went for cold, hard cash.
“It’s for the ones that don’t give me problems and are real nice,” Williams said as he monitored that crosswalk intersection at NES.
His shift would be ending soon and wrapping up the last day of school.
“See you in August,” he shouted to the kids and parents waving to him from cars leaving the school.
Then he blew his whistle twice to stop that traffic for a first grader who was walking her pink bike to the other side of the street.
“This was for the students who were nice to classmates, very respectful, and acted special all year,” he said.
Williams is a civilian employee working for the Alachua Sheriff’s Office, and this is his sixth year of helping Newberry students get to and from school safely.
He retired from Florida Power & Light after 30 years and said he enjoys getting out twice a day for his morning and afternoon shifts.
“They know me from the neighborhood,” said Williams, a Newberry resident who sees the kids around town and when he is coaching their youth basketball and JV football teams.
His advice for how to be a good crossing guard: “Be friendly, and once you get to know the kids and get to know the parents, they have trust in you.”
Williams, 66, said he will retire in April 2022 from his post outside of NES and has enjoyed his time seeing the kids to safety.
“Hey, man, you going to fifth grade next year?” he asked a student, who answered yes. “So I don’t have to worry about you,” Williams said, adding that he hopes the student will stop by to say hello.
“Bye bye,” as he waved to another student passing by. “See you in August.”