The world today is both an amazing and, sometimes, scary place – and those two things converge nowhere like with our children.
In bygone days, children were essentially left free to roam about with little concern for their safety. Everyone has an older relatively who would talk about the treacherous trek they’d have to make to go to school. Things like “crossing guards” didn’t exist for them.
The concept is one that makes perfect sense: a public safety officer stands guard at intersections children have to cross to make their way to school. It helps keep them safe from drivers distracted by their coffee, make-up, or the radio on their commute to work.
These guards also give kids a hopefully, friendly face to say “good morning” to each day. However, in North Carolina, winters can be cold, unforgiving, and leave people of all ages in no mood to chat.
A crossing guard for Trask Middle School, known to the kids as Ms. Minnie, is a trusted friend to the kids. She greets them warmly no matter the outside temperature and has done so for 19 years. In fact, she’s been there so long that she never expected that the adults driving by her daily post would pay attention to her.
Kayla Thomas, a teacher for a local high school, does pay attention to Ms. Minnie and was shocked to see her leading some of the kids to her car parked near the intersection she minds each morning. Stunned by what she saw, Kayla had to snap a picture.
In today’s suspicious world, seeing a crossing guard taking kids to her car might be a cause for concern, but if you look carefully you’ll see something amazing near the trunk of the car: a clothing rack full of winter coats.
As Kayla wrote on Facebook:
“Today I noticed that she had a rack of coats by her car, and signs saying “free coats” posted everywhere. It took every ounce of restraint in my body not to put the car in park and get out and hug this woman, to thank her for using her free time to keep our students safe and for giving coats to people who may not have them. There is still good in this world, despite what we see and hear everyday. People like her give the rest of us hope that we can all live in peace and focus on the things that really matter.”
Ms. Minnie gives the coats to kids who need them, and asks for nothing in return. Her generosity is not just limited to the winter months either.
She is also known for handing out umbrellas to kids on rainy days. At the beginning of the school year, she passes out school supplies. While these gifts to the kids are surely important and wonderful, it’s her personality that truly serves them. Her positive attitude gives kids something to smile about, even those who dread going to school.
For Ms. Minnie, however, all this attention is not why she does it. No, she does what she can to make her community a better place. The kids of Wilmington are lucky to have a woman like her in their corner.