Students and families surprise elementary school crossing guard with birthday gifts

Ravenwood Elementary students and families surprise Mr. Jim, their crossing guard, with birthday gifts.
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 2:03 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV/Gray News) - A crossing guard at a Missouri elementary school recently got a memorable birthday surprise from his students and their families.

James Bailey helps children attending Ravenwood Elementary School cross the street safely every morning and every afternoon.

This year, the community gave him recognition for what he does with birthday gifts.

“It made me feel I’m really wanted and that makes a difference,” he said. “Whatever job you got, you want to feel wanted. You want to love it and you want to feel wanted when you do it.”

Bailey, who is better known as Mr. Jim by all of the kids, turned 80 years old this year. He makes sure to say hello to everyone while making his way around the intersection.

“They keep me in shape, of course, I’m not in the best of shape, but I’m in better shape than what I would have been if I sat around the house all the time,” he said. “And learning from them. You can learn so much from young kids.”

Aimee and Patrick Casady live in the house on the corner of the street. They have children that have gone or are still going to Ravenwood, and Bailey has been the one to make sure they make it safely since day one.

The Casadys put up signs in their yard and had several kids get together to give him gifts and sing “Happy Birthday” before school started.

Several others driving or walking their kids to school also stopped throughout the morning.

“Every time Mr. Jim is there, we know they’re going to get across the street, they’re going to be safe,” Patrick Casady said. “He also knows a lot of stuff about them, he asks questions. He is a part of our lives.”

Bailey is busy before and after school as he is constantly on the go from sidewalk to sidewalk ensuring safety first.

According to KCTV, he even made the trip across the street to be interviewed, all while off the clock.

Bailey said he aims to remind everyone that they have a friend nearby, even if they are no longer attending Ravenwood.

“It’s fantastic and that’s when they start [here] and when they get through the 5th grade and they’re leaving, that’s when I hate it,” Bailey said.

Bailey will be celebrating his birthday dinner Friday night at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak Restaurant with his wife. He said he got a call from a manager there who said they knew it was his birthday and they wanted to pay for the meal.