Willie Chance has been a crossing guard in the Riverview area for more than 13 years. He currently works at Summerfield Crossing Elementary and he is loved by all that he keeps safe each morning and afternoon as they cross the street.
“He’s the sweetest and sets a terrific example for all of us,” said Natalia Verdina, public relations coordinator of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Chance came out of retirement to become a crossing guard.
“It gave me something to do instead of sitting around with nothing to do,” he said. “I was going fishing a lot, but I was getting bored, so I decided to get me a part-time job.”
Chance found out about the crossing guard job from a friend he was having lunch with at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“We were having lunch at KCF and my friend said, ‘Willie, you should be a crossing guard. You love kids, so you should do it.’ I thought about it and I went down to the county and filled out the application,” Chance said. “They reviewed my application and hired me.”
The recent pandemic was difficult for Chance because he missed seeing ‘his kids.’
“Oh, it was rough,” Chance said. “I missed them everyday and I was so happy when school went back so I can see my kids. It’s a blessing everyday to see them and talk to them.”
Chance has seen most of his kids go through elementary school and are now in middle school. Chance has had the opportunity of working with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
“Beloved by his peers, parents and, above all, the children he serves everyday, Mr. Willie Chance is a treasure within our team,” said Chronister. “He has served as a crossing guard at Summerfield Crossing Elementary for 13 years, displaying an admirable amount of commitment, dedication and love for one of the most important jobs there is. We thank him not only for ensuring our children cross the street safely, but also serving as a daily reminder that age is just a number.”
Speaking of age, Chance was a bit tight-lipped about his age.
“Let’s just say I’m over 80 and I’m a senior crossing guard,” he said with a laugh.
When asked if he will ever retire permanently, Chance said, “When the good Lord calls me home, then that’s when I’ll retire. Every day above ground is a blessing, so I’m going to keep on working and spending time with my kids.”