When Cathy Brady retired three years ago, she swore she’d never work in an office again.
While out delivering papers one day, she began chatting with a crossing guard at a nearby school and that’s when it hit her.
“I thought, ‘that’s something I could do that could get me outside’.”
For the past few years, each morning and afternoon, the 62-year-old has taken her post at the corner of 184 Street and 63 Avenue, guiding children and parents safely to and from Surrey’s Don Christian Elementary.
The first couple of days, she admits, she found the job a bit boring.
Until she started waving. A lot.
“I wave at everybody that drives down 184 Street,” said Brady, adding it also helps slow traffic around the school. “It’s fun to see if you can get people to smile.”
People generally wave back, although there is the occasional grump who ignores her.
And some days, she admits, she doesn’t necessarily feel up to delivering her usual cheery wave.
“But then somebody will come along that I’ve been waving to for years and they’ll wave at me and I remember, ‘oh yeah, that’s why I like being out here.’ It comes back.”
For her efforts, Brady has been named one of top three crossing guards in the country (the other two winners are from Nova Scotia and Ontario).
Parents at the school spearheaded the effort to nominate her for Canada’s Favourite Crossing Guard Contest hosted by Parachute, Safe Kids Canada and FedEx Canada, sending in photos and anecdotes about Brady.
Martin Bobik, principal at Don Christian, said the school is excited to see her honoured.
“She’s always got a big smile on her face,” he said. “She takes her job seriously and really enjoys the service that she provides.”
Parent Joanne Howe agrees.
“She really deserves to be recognized,” said the mom.
Brady and the other winning crossing guards will receive $500 apiece and an engraved plaque, and each school will also receive $500.
Although she was aware she had been nominated, the award still came as a surprise.
“I never expected to win. There’s a lot of crossing guards across Canada.”
Brady was honoured at an assembly at the school on Monday (Dec. 10).