In the Washington Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, Tammy Anderson is a familiar and beloved figure.
Tammy has worked as a crossing guard for Beasley Academic Center for the past six years. Although she is one of 600 guards in the city, she stands out from the crowd thanks to her habit of dancing, singing, and waving cheerfully to drivers as she does her work.
Rain or shine, Tammy is out in front of the school every morning and afternoon to ensure student safety on the busy city streets. She could simply stand quietly and do her work, but where’s the fun in that? She admits it was boredom that got her moving in the first place.
“When I started, just standing there,” said Tammy. “I got bored just waiting on the children and then one day, someone waved at me… I waved back and then it got contagious and I just started, hey!”
The mom-of-three never fails to bring joy to local residents. Parent Sandra Johnson says she looks forward to seeing Tammy outside of the school each day.
“She will have this whole street lit up,” said Sandra. “Tammy, that’s our girl.”
Tammy moves so much at work, mostly dancing to gospel music, that she has lost 100 pounds in the past few years! The devoted crossing guard even tears up when she talks about how much people appreciate her “infectious” smile.
“When someone comes back and tells me that I brought them joy… when someone comes and tells me I was having a bad day until I crossed that intersection… that makes my day,” said Tammy. “I bless the streets before I get out here, so they could be covered with joy and have a happy day when they come by.”
“She does it from the heart,” Sandra agreed. “She doesn’t do it for a paycheck or for the recognition, she does it because this is what she loves.”
Her smile may still be as bright as ever, but behind the scenes, things weren’t going so well for Tammy. She recently started a GoFundMe to ask her community for help paying back rent, which amounts to about $2,400. She hoped to raise at least $5,000, but when word got out that “the happy guard” needed help, people opened their wallets and dished out far more.
“I am asking the Community to please HELP me and my family,” she wrote on GoFundMe. “I tried to get help from others avenues, but wasn’t qualified for the STATE services. Due to the PANDEMIC and being the SOLE PROVIDER and SINGLE MOM, I’m having a hard time keeping up with OUTSTANDING pass due rent and I am asking the Community in needs of some emergency HELP on my past RENT.”
To date, she’s raised over $19,000!
Looks like Tammy’s community is showing their appreciation for all of the daily smiles she gives them, free of charge! Wishing her the best of luck as she gets back on her feet.
Watch Tammy’s infectious energy below and don’t forget to share her story.
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