You’ve likely heard of a dancing queen, but have you heard about the dancing crossing guard?
Well, if you live in Spanish Fork, you may have seen a woman before and after school, having a good old time dancing on the sidewalk as she waits to help children cross the street.
Shannon Sharp became a crossing guard in the fall of 2020 when she noticed that the crossing guard who was usually there wasn’t there anymore.
“My family moved to Spanish Fork in Nov. 2019, and my daughter was in kindergarten at the time,” Sharp explained. “We live close enough to the school that I can’t justify driving, so I would walk every day. And then Covid hit and everything shut down, so we weren’t going to school anymore. And then in 2020, I was walking my daughter to school again, and there was a crossing guard a few times, and then suddenly there wasn’t. I wondered where they went, and so I decided to apply to be a sub crossing guard, and I got the job. I was then asked to become the full time guard for my post.”
The first couple months, Sharp described as being pretty routine with a steady flow of kids ready to cross the street to and from school. A couple of months later, however, she found herself standing outside in the cold with fewer kids crossing the street. It was then, when she found that she needed a way to both stay warm and find a way to pass the time with a smile.
“As it gets colder, it gets kind of boring because you’re standing out there and it’s not as busy,” she said. “I thought that I’d turn some Christmas music on, and I can’t remember what song came on that made me want to dance, but it was just one of those songs and I was like, ‘This is great!’ and I started to dance. Of course, I started getting some weird looks from other people, and then other people would smile and wave and some would give me a friendly honk.
“So, I was just dancing to Christmas music, and after Christmas break I was like, ‘Well, I can’t really listen to Christmas music anymore,’ and so then I just made a playlist of music I could dance to. It started to catch on, and more people started to smile and wave.”
Sharp acknowledged that she has absolutely zero background in dancing, but said that it really didn’t matter to her because she doesn’t get embarrassed that easily.
“I have no dancing background,” she said. “At first, I felt super awkward, but I’m like, ‘Who cares?’ You know, I’m just having fun, and I have all my awkward dance moves and kind of just have the same old steps I guess, if you want to call them that. I don’t get embarrassed too easily. I’m the type of person who will speak to strangers at a grocery store. I’m just really friendly and I like to be social and interact with others.”
Sharp said that her job as a crossing guard is first and foremost about getting the kids across the street safely. Due to this, she does not dance while she’s crossing the street, and she makes sure to do it away from cars entering the intersection.
“I try to stay 2-3 sidewalk squared back, and I don’t hold my sign when dancing, that way people aren’t confused,” she said. “As I see kids get close, I go and grab my sign and stop dancing because then that’s more of a serious time.”
Sharp’s dancing has caught the attention of students, teachers, parents and community members.
“Someone actually took a video of me once and put it on the community page,” Sharp recalled. “A mom at the school got me a shirt that says, ‘I’m a dancing crossing guard. What’s your super power?’ People have just been really nice, and I really like it when people wave and smile. It makes me want to dance even more because it just makes you happy to make other people happy.
It’s the domino effect of happiness, I guess. It’s really fun to interact with the kids and to be able to be out there helping them and just have fun with it.”