“When I first heard I was nominated I didn’t believe it; I thought it was a joke,” Carl Smith laughed. “I’m just going to work every day. It was truly a great honor to be nominated. I really appreciate it.”
Smith is one of 170 crossing guards nationwide to be nominated in the Safe Kids Worldwide’s America’s Favorite Crossing Guard competition. Every school day, rain or shine, Smith is on the corner near Sutter Elementary School on Forbes Avenue helping kids and their families safely cross the street.
“Being able to help the community is one thing, but to help children is another level,” said Smith. “[I like] knowing that they’re relying on me and have trust in me that I’m going to keep everyone safe.”
Smith says his favorite part of the job is being a part of the community.
“Meeting the neighbors, whether they’re just people walking in the neighborhood or the children that come through with their parents,” said Smith. “You can see the people and read them and just make them smile and say, ‘hello.’”
Taylor Carpenter, a Community Service Officer with the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD), says he knew Smith would be a good fit from the moment he hired him.
“I remember when I hired Carl two years ago, he was awesome,” said Carpenter. “He’s just very respectful, he’s great with kids. I also utilize him as one of my training guards. If I have new crossing guards that I hire, he trains them.”
In October, the local non-profit Safe Moves organization contacted the SCPD to find a crossing guard that really stood out. Carpenter immediately nominated Smith.
“He popped in my head because I actually got an email from a couple parents at the end of last school year saying he was awesome,” said Carpenter.
Safe Moves is an organization dedicated to teaching kids about traffic safety and thought Smith was a perfect fit as well. Safe Moves is the group that officially nominated Smith for the honor.
Voting is now closed for the America’s Favorite Crossing Guard competition and a winner will be announced in February.
As for Smith, he says not even the cold weather is going to stop him from doing his job.
“I have never been a cold weather person, but with this job, I love it so much that you just learn to adapt,” said Smith. “It’s just mind over matter. [You] dress warm and you just make it work, so I’m not a complaining type.”
Smith also works at Levi’s Stadium during the 49ers games, rain or shine. He says when you love your job, it’s hard not to have a positive attitude.
“I come from a customer service background,” said Smith. “Being able to serve in that capacity, no matter where it may be is something I’ve really enjoyed doing.”