'Thank you for your daily spot of sunshine': Gurnee crossing guard praised for positivity
If you've driven by Washington Street and Almond Road just before the day starts at Gurnee's Woodland Middle School, you've likely been on the receiving end of a friendly wave, a big smile and a greeting from crossing guard Angelo White.
He's even gotten fan mail. Last month a letter addressed to "Radiant Morning Crossing Guard" showed up at Woodland written by a resident who identified herself as Elizabeth.
"It's been a difficult time for folks in health care, in education, in most service fields," the letter read. "Your wave and radiant smile help me start my day on a bright note. Thank you for your daily spot of sunshine."
White, a Gurnee resident, said the letter touched him.
"It brought me to tears really; it got to my soul," White said.
The Gurnee Police Department posted a picture of the letter on its Facebook page last month, and many more people who appreciate White shared their gratitude in the comments.
"Glad to have a name to go with the amazing smiles and waves! Thank you, Angelo!" one commenter said.
"He brightens my morning commute daily!" said another.
"I wave back to him all the time! The world needs more people like Angelo!" said yet another.
How does White generate good feelings so early in the morning? He says part of it is that he's always been a little "hyper," even at 67 years old. But White said he makes a choice each day to make himself and others feel better.
"I want to greet the students that come through and the parents and people in the traffic," White said. "And it's free. It's a gift God gave all of us and it's free. It makes me feel good."
White said he began as a crossing guard with the Gurnee Police Department three or four years ago after retiring from his 44-year career at Great Lakes Naval Station.
"I asked God to give me something to do, and he gave me something," White said of being a crossing guard. "I love my job."