Monday, October 29, 2012

The Crossing Guard

Last week, those of us from our formerly quiet hometown said goodbye to a city landmark.
Ernest (Ernie) LeRoy Taylor
This is Ernie Taylor and he made a huge impact in a lot of lives...
including mine.

Grandpa Taylor was the crossing guard, at the same corner, for 17 years.  
That means I got to see him on his street corner from the time I was in 3rd grade.
Grandpa Taylor was the best crossing guard to ever be.
Do you know why?

He waved and smiled at EVERY SINGLE CAR that ever drove past him.
That is thousands of waves a day.

The whole city knew that they'd get a wave while driving up 3rd South.  
He literally never missed a car.
I have personally waved at him hundreds of times and I have been grateful on many occasions to feel that someone noticed me.

As the news of his passing started circulating the neighborhood kids, it was lovely to read the comments people had for him.  Here are just a few:

 That is so sad! You could always count on him being there every day with a smile and a wave.

Oh no! He'll be remembered by a ton.

What a huge impact he had on all of us! I hope he knew that before he died...or I atleast hope he knows it now!

This guy made my day! I tried to make sure he knew I was waving back :)

I have a memory of hugging him when I would walk home from Park.

How sad! I loved his daily wave & smile! What an incredible guy and example to us all!

I can picture him now wearing his orange and hat and giving a wave to the passing cars.

The passing of Grandpa Taylor got me to thinking about how simple it can be to make a huge difference.
He will always be remembered and all he did was stand on a street corner and wave!
I wonder if he knew what a huge difference he was making?
I wonder if he thought about the thousands of people that would miss him once he was gone?
If he didn't know then, I hope he knows now.

With the world that we live in today, we have somehow forgotten the importance of face to face communication and acknowledging the presence of other humans.

I was just walking back from the laundry room here at our apartment and I passed a beautiful girl wearing a UNM Lobos shirt.
She was literally within arms reach of me.
I could have tripped her.
We were so close and yet she never even looked my way.
I finally said "hi" at which time she said "hi" back.
No look and hardly any acknowledgement of my existence.

I remember when I was about to start my Freshman year of college at Brigham Young University.
My family took me over to the campus the Sunday before school started to help me find the buildings my classes could be found in.
As we walked around campus I remember making a comment about how many people were there walking around.
My oldest brother said something along the lines of:
"Oh, don't be nervous.  Everyone looks at the ground or their phones and ignores each other anyway.  You won't have to say hi to a single person because they'll probably not even notice you're alive."
As I started school the next day I learned that, unfortunately, this was true.
I could have easily gone through a whole day at BYU and not spoken to a single person had I waited to be spoken to.

Reflecting on that experience, I have come to realize how much it means to be noticed.
There are far too many people in this world who never get 
Be it 
a child, 
a senior citizen, 
a stranger in a foreign land, 
a mother who works herself to death to create a happy home for her family,
a father who has to work late trying to make ends meet,
an employee who never receives anything but criticism in the work place,
a teenager trying to figure out who they are,
or even a college student surrounded by big buildings, books, and no friends.

Think with me about a time that you were noticed by someone.
Maybe someone you admired complimented what you were wearing
or a professor voiced a simple "good work".

Those moments mean the world, don't they?

So, the gnawing thought in my head is this:
I have got to notice people.

I love simple goals like that.
It doesn't costs any money and it doesn't take any time.
All we have to do is notice each other.
Think of the days we could make brighter just by saying hi, locking eyes, or smiling at a passerby.

Grandpa Taylor, thanks for being the perfect example of this.
You are the bomb.

Read Grandpa Taylor's obituary here.


  1. 2 years ago I was the one driving by when he had a heart attack at the cross walk. It was the scariest thing and I was bawling thinking that he was dead. I'm glad that he got another 2 years living on this earth and effecting all of us that knew him. He was an amazing man and will be remembered by all of us!

  2. He was such a sweet, kind example of a person! We covered a super cute story about him. The photos are tearjerkers for sure!

  3. This man I am so proud to be able to call my grandpa! Thanks so much for your kind words here on your blog, you Definately defined who he was : )