Neighbors thanking beloved Westchase crossing guard who is retiring for his kind heart

Beloved Westchase crossing guard retiring
Beloved Westchase crossing guard retiring
Posted at 3:11 AM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 07:51:30-05

WESTCHASE, Fla. -- At the corner of Gretna Green Drive and Kingsbridge Avenue, there is a man who makes everyone's day.

"I guess so," said Robert Lewis, laughing.

Lewis greets so many people and his charm is contagious.

"I try to be a part of the community," Lewis said. "I signed up to do a job. And I try to do it to the best of my ability."

Eight years of waving and smiling. He applied after serving our country in the military. It also runs in the family.

"My sister is a crossing guard in Orlando," said Lewis.

He knows how important the job is.

"Nine times out of 10 I'm the first person they see outside their families," said Lewis. "I try to encourage them as they cross, have a good school day! I don’t know how far that will go with them but they have to have encouragement to succeed."

If Lewis did not know how truly special he is to the kids he watches over he certainly does now. 

"He’s the best crossing guard I’ve ever met and I’ve crossed the street a lot," said Erin Hamilton, who has been crossing with Lewis since she was in kindergarten.

"Thank you for keeping us safe," said Tanner Noel, before heading to school.

Robert Lewis is retiring. The folks living in this Westchase neighborhood are paying him back with the same kindness.

"I just mentioned it to one of the residents, I didn’t know it would get this attention," Lewis said.

"He remembers us, and says good morning and sends us on our way," said Courtney Balicki, whose son has been learning to ride his bike, "We’ve been working on riding his two wheel bike and every day Robert saw him on training wheels and now on the two wheels and he notices every morning that he’s getting better."

On Facebook, neighbors are expressing their sadness and showing love for their favorite crossing guard.

He is going to miss them too.

"The people, the people, very great community," Lewis said. "If you bring joy to somebody, joy is going to bounce back to you."

A simple form of paying it forward. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is looking to hire around a dozen crossing guards and hope to find people with Robert's work ethic. To apply, click here.