Bellew began working as a crossing guard in 1968. Students kept smiling and crying as they said their goodbyes.
Most of us might remember lollipop man/lady from when we were little pedestrians trying to cross our elementary school road intersection. A crossing guard would usually halt the traffic or help us cross the roads. But eventually, we grow up and crossing guards retire. What's new this time is, after approximately 55 years, a crossing guard is retiring at the age of 87 years old. It is delightful to imagine how long she stayed loyal to one job and how many children she might have taught to cross the road. Sandra Bellew retired from the Independence School District in Missouri after hanging up her crossing guard vest, reports ABC News. Her last day as a school crossing guard was on May 26, but the 87-year-old received the most heartwarming farewell from her students last week. They gathered to give her a surprise with homemade signs, flowers, and hugs.
After five decades on the job, Ms. Sandra Bellew is retiring from her post as crossing guard for Mill Creek Elementary. The students sent her off in style with banners, flowers, and letters. You will be missed, Ms. Sandy! #ISDstrong pic.twitter.com/vFxTxbjYPJ— Independence School District (@ISDSchools) May 22, 2023
Bellew began working as a crossing guard in September 1968, and over the years, she has assisted many students. "It was a happy feeling and they all had such smiles on their faces," Bellew told Good Morning America. "[The students] kept telling me how much they're going to miss me. And of course, I had several crying and it was just really healing in a way, knowing that they did care and they will miss me." Bellew said she'll miss meeting new people the most as well as "seeing the kids and getting hugs from them." "It's not big money but it was fun doing it so I enjoyed it," the mom of seven said.
While she says 'Stop' to her work life and crosses the road to reach the next chapter of her life, Bellew said, "I'm planning on just going swimming and doing water aerobics and exercise and try to keep myself strong and keep my legs strong so I can stay going." As a tribute to her, Independence School District tweeted with some pictures of her, "After five decades on the job, Ms. Sandra Bellew is retiring from her post as a crossing guard for Mill Creek Elementary. The students sent her off in style with banners, flowers, and letters. You will be missed, Ms. Sandy! #ISDstrong"
When Bellew turned 80, Mill Creek Elementary School's teachers and staff hosted a breakfast/birthday party for her. The Mill Creek staff and the Independence Chick-Fil-A received several gifts for her. A restaurant gave her the Second Mile Award, which is given to community members who, like Bellew, go the extra mile every day. The Independence School District's official page said, "Every morning and afternoon, Sandra faithfully mans the crosswalk at Liberty St. and Colonel Dr., just south of the school. She has been an 'official' school crossing guard for 17 years but has been helping ISD students get safely to and from school since 1968 when she started at Bryant Elementary."
She said she enjoys seeing the kids, many of whom are accompanied by parents whom she once assisted in crossing the street on their way to school. She claims that getting up and doing something every day keeps her young. Bellew said on her 80th birthday, "I could have quit a long time ago, but I enjoy it. You've got to enjoy your life. You don't live to be 80 years old if you don't! I'm not old."