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We in London have our own equivalent to the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ T V show contestants.. Take a drive out Hamilton Road East Monday to Friday and you can enjoy Margaret Shaw’s dancing.

She is dressed in flashy florescent orange uniform with only her stop sign for her dance partner. Margaret is one of London’s finest unsung heroes- a school crossing guard for the past eight years. She braves the elements in the morning eight to nine, lunch from twelve to two and after school three to four to make sure that ‘ her kids’ are safe. She is responsible for sixty students from Holy Cross & Ealing elementary schools.

Watch her dancing on the sidewalk while she waits for her students to arrive. She moves and sways to the music of her ‘Tuna Fish’ transistor radio hanging from the light standard. She alternates between dancing: Mambo. Cha Cha, Rhumba, Twist, Wave, Jitter Bug along with some Greek Opah dancing in-between.

Margaret is fifty- seven and one half years old but has the energy/spirit of a thirty year old young women. God willing, granted good health, she plans on working as a crossing guard until she is seventy five. No need to join a gym; she has lost forty pounds over the years.

Dancing keeps her warm in the frigid weather and takes the edge off people facing another busy day at work. The truck/automotive drivers that I saw tapped their horn in appreciation Margaret tossed them a wave and a quiet thank- you for their patience having to stop for yet another crossing guard. She has only twelve seconds allotted to her to usher her students across the busy four lane intersection.

Margaret loves to be out and about interacting with young people. She knows every student by their first name extending a hearty welcome, good morning.

I interviewed a couple of her students/parents to get their opinion: James has known Margaret for eight years and feels safe when she is on duty.’Everyone obeys her stop sign.’ Gabe admits that ‘her music is out of date but she is still cool’. Bonnie feels comfortable knowing that Margaret will be on duty to take care of her child, Chelsea.

Linda Lattella , Principal of Holy Family, describes Margaret as a ‘colourful, caring, conscientious, character who thoroughly enjoys interacting with her children.’ Margaret is made to feel that she is part and parcel of an extended family. She is invited every year to attend the grade eight graduation ceremonies to pass on her congratulations .

Shana Stinson, Vice President, Stinson Security Services, has only praise for Margaret’s dedication: ‘she is oh so popular with her students/parents.’ ‘Job satisfaction comes about at the end of a day with the knowledge that she makes a difference loving her kids and keeping them safe.’
Margaret’s philosophy is very simple: Stop for a moment and enjoy the children. Please remember to keep them safe They are London’s future.

It is rare to find the likes of Margaret; she thoroughly enjoys going to work. In her own unique way she makes a difference. Her smile and dancing bring a rainbow of joy to those who are most fortunate to meet her.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com