The Lollipop Man
As I stood in the September sun today, waiting for my youngest son to get out of school, I spent 5 or 10 minutes watching a lollipop man at work. There were times in the past when my family suggested that the first regular job I would get was likely to be a lollipop man, given that I seemed to be reluctant to leave full time education and was in and out of more seasonal employment. That was back in the days when most lollipop persons were recently retired men... This lollipop person fitted that profile, though I am aware that there is much more variety in age these days, and probably as many women as men performing the role. For those from across the Atlantic who haven't a clue what I am talking about, a lollipop man or woman is a person who escorts children across roads close to schools immediately before and after school hours... don't know if you have the equivalent... they are called lollipop men because of the sign they carry to stop cars, which looks like a lollipop
But anyway, back to today. This particular lollipop man was performing his role efficiently and in a good humoured fashion, having a good rapport with the kids and parents alike. Its a particularly tricky junction, because, although it is on a side street there are 2 primary and 2 secondary schools nearby and drivers use the road as a cut-through between 2 main roads. There are cars parked either side of the road almost right up to the junction and a side street opens onto the road about 10m further on. In the time that I was there over 200 parents and children crossed the road on foot and around 40 cars negotiated the corner at which the lollipop man was in action. He got the kids across the road safely, wishing many of them a good day... and helped direct traffic to improve the through-flow... His good humour was infectious and hardly a child or parent passed without a smile... including most of those in cars... But there's always one or two idiots... And there were today... All too keen to use their horns and a relatively simplistic form of sign language to show their displeasure.
But the lollipop man kept on smiling, helping the children to cross the road safely, and waving on the traffic when appropriate. I'm sure he doesn't get paid much... he probably doesn't have much by way of qualifications... and he almost certainly isn't insured to direct traffic... But, for most of the people there today his activities made for a safer, sunnier, less stressful world... Even watching him at work was a joy... Long live such lollipop men...