Last Thursday, instead of taking the day off to celebrate his 80th birthday, crossing guard Alec Childress went to work on his corner in Wilmette, IL. When he arrived, community members and students, past and present, were waiting with yard signs and balloons to help him celebrate his birthday milestone.
According to Fox News, every morning Childress greets the children with a smile and the phrase, “Peace, I gotcha!” His popular words of reassurance made for the perfect signs. They read “We gotcha! Happy Birthday, Alec!”
Childress told CNN that he started working in construction in 1969. He retired in 2005 , but he was back to work less than a month after hanging up his hardhat. He exchanged it for a vest and a stop sign that would assist him in his efforts to spread positivity while keeping children safe.
"I don't bring my problems to the corner," Childress told Fox News. "My job is to make sure they get across safe and that they are shown love because you never know what kind of home they come from."
The party was complete with a tent, food and gifts for Childress, including tickets for him and his wife to see Hamilton. The organizer, parents Kay McBrearty and Krista Gallagher wanted to surprise Childress and show their appreciation.
"Everybody starts their day out with a smile because of Alec," McBrearty told Fox News. "We wanted to surprise him from the community for bringing love, joy, and peace to this corner, Lake and 9th street, in Wilmette." She continued, “He just infuses love and all that is good. ... and I've heard stories from parents who said, 'The only reason my child made it through was because Alec put a smile on his face.'"
In addition to the food and fun Childress was presented with an honorary road sign that read, “Alec’s Corner.”
We love it!
Photo credit: Res Publica Group