PLANO, Texas -- There are many important people at Mitchell Elementary in Plano, but perhaps none more treasured than the man across the street.
“Come on babies,” Luther Walker shouted as he led a group of students across the street.
Walker has been the crossing guard at Mitchell since 2006. He turns 94 this week.
“God bless you,” he said to students passing by.
This World War II veteran says the key to being a good crossing guard, or a good person for that matter, is to always treat people right.
Which he has.
“He’s an inspiration,” said one of his fellow crossing guards.
Luther worked at a bakery most of his life but says nothing beats this.
“It kinda makes me feel like I’m a little younger,” he said with a laugh.
He doesn’t make much money and often struggles to pay rent on his apartment. Still, he’s never felt richer.
"It makes me feel so good,” he said.
Luther truly loves his job. In fact, hasn’t missed a day since he was 83. That is, until last week, when he just never showed up.
“That never, ever happens,” said one crossing guard.
“The children were worried, the staff was so worried, everybody kept checking for updates on him because he’s like family,” 5th grade teacher Cyndy Spangrud said.
Turns out, Luther had taken a late night drive the day before when he started feeling dehydrated. He was later found on the side of the road, passed out in his car. For Luther, it wasn't that serious. But for his family here at Mitchell Elementary, it was a big deal.
"And we just want to make sure the time we do have with him we're here to appreciate him and love on him and treasure him,” Spangrud said.
For those reasons and a million more, the kids gave him a huge birthday surprise. They made him cards, gifts and even paid the rent on his apartment.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Luther said.
He must have said thank you a dozen times.
“That means more than anything in the world,” he said. “That helps me maybe live a little longer.”
Such an incredible act of kindness wouldn’t have been possible without the crossing guard who helped show them the way.