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Robert Lewis, Popular Westchase Crossing Guard, Retires

Hearing that Mr. Lewis is hanging up his stop sign sparked an outpouring of affection for Westchase’s favorite crossing guard in February.

Lewis retired at month’s end from the post he has held since 2010.

Standing at the crosswalk of Gretna Green Drive and Kingsbridge Avenue, Lewis greeted every driver, walker, cyclist and even those on the school buses with a friendly smile and an eager wave. “I’m the first person they see in the mornings besides their families. It’s a way to rejuvenate them and myself, too,” he explained.

Lewis knows many of the children and their parents by name. Many passersby know him by name as well. Upon the posting of his retirement news on the Westchase community Facebook page, more than one hundred people offered well wishes for Lewis within just a few hours.

Brentford resident Catherine Hamilton recalled meeting Lewis at the crosswalk when her daughter began school in kindergarten eight years ago. “He was always there through all of my years going to the elementary school with her,” she shared. “He’s a celebrity in the neighborhood!”

Chelmsford resident Tammy Daniels became concerned about Lewis when he was absent recently for several days. “He’s been such a fixture there. We were all wondering what happened to him!”

Of the past eight years, Lewis explained he has only missed seven days of work. His recent absence, which concerned Daniels and other residents, was due to the flu he had for several days. Many were relieved upon his return. He was quickly back to waving and offering his friendly greetings.  “Have a good school day,” he would call out to the children as they reach their destination safely on the other side of the street.

If windows were rolled up on oncoming cars, they were quickly rolled down as they approached Lewis at his post. Children’s voices shouted out greetings as little hands emerged with waves from the cars.

Lewis even knew the usual order of arrival of the children he helped cross safely. “The little boy on the green bike will be the first one here this afternoon. He’s usually the last one to arrive in the mornings,” he explained. Following the boy would be three girls, he predicted. (He was correct on both counts!) Occasionally, someone even stopped to chat with Lewis to find out how his day is going or inquire about his weekend. “This is such a great community with really good people,” he said.

It’s the people, not the position, he said he will miss the most upon his retirement.

Lewis originally took the position after retiring from a government position as a contract officer procuring military supplies. “From janitorial items to construction equipment, I was responsible for finding it,” he said.

Looking for something to do after retiring from that position, he decided to become a crossing guard. When asked how he plans to fill his time this time around, he’s keeping his options open, he said. One thing on his list is to spend more time with his brother, who is also retired. Recalling a time when he once tried his hand at golf, his brother’s passion, he has decided against picking up the clubs again. “I’d rather be sane than insane so I’m just going to leave that alone,” he said with a chuckle.

Whatever activities he finds to fill his retirement days, he will surely be missed by many.

Thank you, Robert Lewis, for your years of service and waves to the Westchase community!

By Lisa Stephens

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