Ravenwood Elementary students and families surprise Mr. Jim, their crossing guard, with birthday gifts

Ravenwood Elementary students and families surprise Mr. Jim, their crossing guard, with birthday gifts
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:35 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A local crossing guard at Ravenwood Elementary School makes sure families get to and from school safely every morning and afternoon, and the community gave him recognition for the work he does with birthday gifts.

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

James Bailey is a hardworking man outside the school in Olathe making sure everyone is safe and sound crossing any sidewalk, any of them. If he sees you, he will jog over to make sure cars stop.

The now 80-year-old, better known as Mr. Jim, says hi to everyone all the 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. And learning from them. You can learn so much from young kids,” he said about why he still likes being a crossing guard after 14 years.

Aimee and Patrick Casady live in the house on the corner. They have kids that have gone or are still going to Ravenwood and Mr. Jim has been the one to make sure they make it safely there since day one.

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

Ravenwood Ele. Student Honor Mr. Jim
Ravenwood Ele. Student Honor Mr. Jim(KCTV 5)

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. He also knows a lot of stuff about them, he asks questions. He is a part of our lives,” said Patrick.

“Just another person looking out for them in their life which is important and another person that they can come talk to and someone else to care about them,” said Aimee.

The busy man before and after school is constantly on the go from sidewalk to sidewalk ensuring safety first. He even had to run over one last time during our interview around 8:30 a.m., even though he was technically off-the-clock. But he doesn’t mind the overtime.

“I’m off, but I’ll do it anyway,” he said as he started his jog over to the person.

He reminds all that they have a friend nearby, even if the child is 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,” said Mr. Jim.

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.

All City Management Services is the company Bailey works for.