Advertisement

Subscribe
to the
Weekender

Advertisement

Your Village: What’s the story behind an Iowa City crossing guard who waves at every car?


Have a question about what’s going on in your community? Ask Little Village. Submit your questions through the Your Village feature on our homepage, or email us at editor@littlevillagemag.com

School crossing guard Dan Berry waves to passing motorists on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann


I drive by the corner of Ashwood Drive and Rochester Avenue in the mornings on my way to work and there is a crossing guard who waves at everyone passing car in the morning. He seems to be one of the most cheerful people in Iowa City. Who is he? What’s his story? – Kieran, Iowa City, via email.

“I didn’t start waving to be friendly,” Dan Berry told Little Village, between smiles and waves at cars. “When I first started, cars we’re going up and down Rochester pretty fast. So, I thought that if I waved, they’d realize that there is a school crossing guard here, and maybe they’d slow down a little.”

It worked. Drivers noticed Berry smiling and waving. They smiled and waved to him. The cars slowed down. Mission accomplished.

“So, I quit waving. But everybody kept waving at me, so I started waving back at them,” Berry said.

That was seven years ago. Berry has kept waving and smiling, so have the drivers. And so have the kids Berry helps across the road.

“I get kids who say it makes their day, if I wave and smile at them,” Berry said, with a little chuckle.

Berry describes himself as “sort of retired.” He and his wife Carol used to own and operate Joe’s Place, one of the oldest bars in Iowa City.

“My wife and I bought it in 1964,” Berry said. “We owned it for 36 years, and sold it in 2000.”

Carol, who is also sort of retired, is responsible for Berry becoming a crossing guard.

“She’s been a crossing guard — she’s over at Horace Mann — longer than I have,” Berry said. “She thought doing this was a good way of getting me up and moving, so she talked me into trying it.”

Asked if he plans to continue his guard duties, and his waving and smiling, Berry said, “Yeah, as long as my health’s good.”

“I like it, I like the kids. It’s enjoyable. It gets me out of the house.”

School crossing guard Dan Berry greets one of the students crossing Rochester Avenue on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann


Add a comment

*Please complete all fields correctly

BUY HALF-PRICE GIFT CARDS

WHAT TO READ NEXT

Posted by Paul Brennan
Man puts up pro-white stickers on the Ped Mall during the Women’s March, then tries to hide in MERGE
Not everyone on the Ped Mall with a political message on Saturday morning was there to support the Iowa City Women’s March. There was also someone with plastering “It’s Okay...
Posted by Paul Brennan
Zombie Burger in Iowa City is closing
The Zombie Burger + Shake Lab in downtown Iowa City will close its doors for the last time on Saturday, Feb. 3, the restaurant’s parent company Orchestrate Hospitality announced on...
Posted by Paul Brennan
The Iowa City Bike Library gets a reprieve
The Iowa City Bike Library has gotten a temporary reprieve. In September, it was announced the Bike Library’s lease on its current location at 700 S Dubuque St wasn’t being...