Community safety is Joseph Reyes' concernBy J.J. Valdez
At 72, Joseph Reyes could retire and take life easy. But instead he rises early five mornings a week and hits the streets to protect pedestrian safety.
Reyes works as a crossing guard at Third Avenue, a position he's held for seven years. And in that time he has enjoyed getting to know his charges.
"People have been very nice and I appreciate that," Reyes said. "Even the kids who go to school say 'thank you' when they see me and they know me now."
Reyes works for All-City Management Services, a Los Angeles property management company that allows its employees to pick their assignment. Reyes chose San Bruno.
He works five days a week on school days early morning and mid-afternoon when the kids head home. Although the hours aren't long, he feels richly rewarded by the experience.
Before working as a crossing guard, Reyes drove a truck for 30 years. Before that, he worked for a furniture mover that later went out of business.
Reyes has lived in San Bruno for 25 years, but got to know the community in frequent visits as he grew up in San Francisco. And working as a crossing guard has brought him even closer to his neighbors.
"People here are very appreciative," he said. "Sometimes they give me donuts, and once this lady gave me a pot of flowers. And during the rainy season some people give me rain gear."
His job has an added bonus: The physical demands are easy enough to manage.
"It's an easy enough job for me, I'm not as strong as I used to be," Reyes said, laughing. "I'm getting up there in years."
During his seven years on the job, Reyes has seen three major car crashes in the vicinity. His mission is to prevent future accidents and injuries. He has on occasion compelled speeders to slow down.
He loves the daily interaction with people, as the general manager of the nearby Regency Inn sees firsthand.
"Joseph is awesome," said Fernando Perez. "The guy is unbelievable. He's been doing this for so long, always helping everybody no matter who it is. Strangers or regulars, he's always on top of it. I always see him helping my guests."
Whether it's someone crossing the street or someone driving by, Reyes always gives a smile and a friendly wave as he hold up his stop sign.
When asked how much longer he expects to be doing this here in San Bruno, Reyes chuckled: "I guess until I pass away."
Copyright ©2010 San Bruno Patch. Published 11/12/2010.