The Crossing Guard

On most mornings, the alarm goes off at 05h00. I always go to bed with good intentions – I’ll wake up immediately the alarm goes off, have my quiet time followed by a 25-minute workout, shower, get dressed then make the 7.5minute walk to the bus stop where my friend picks me up for work. Yet, like clockwork, when my alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button approximately 3 times at 15-min intervals. Meaning I don’t drag myself out of bed till 05h45. I’m usually able to get my devotion in, but that workout – forget it. Everything else goes as planned and I make it to the bus stop around 6h45.

The stop is along a major road – hospital road, after the main public hospital in Tema. The bus stop is about 150 yards from the traffic light and there’s a zebra crossing right at the stop. And that’s where I see him. The crossing guard. On the opposite side of the street. He’s almost always there to help people cross the busy street, particularly the school children. He’s always in his black uniform with a matching beret. He hardly smiles. He takes his job very seriously and will sometimes scold the drivers and motorcyclists who ignore his hand signals to stop so the children can cross. He’s there before I arrive at my spot, and he’s there long after I leave. Every day I see him, I wonder if he likes his job. He works hard, is punctual and dedicated. I wonder what his story is. Did he choose to be a crossing guard or was he assigned to this post? On the days when he’s not at post, it can be quite chaotic. Pedestrians and school children have a harder time crossing the street because the motorists aren’t as nice. Everyone’s in a hurry and since there’s no one to enforce the rules, no one seems to care. But they forget that they were once pedestrians.

I hope the crossing guard knows his work is important. That he is appreciated. And when he wakes up in the morning, he looks forward to arriving at his post and helping children and other pedestrians cross the street safely.

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