Beloved Philadelphia crossing guard gets emotional sendoff after 38 years

"I didn't have children and these are my children," Carman Harris said. "I always call them my babies."

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Friday, October 21, 2022
Beloved crossing guard gets emotional sendoff after 38 years
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For the past 38 years, Carman Harris has helped generations of Philadelphia students safely make their way to and from school.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For the past 38 years, Carman Harris has helped generations of Philadelphia students safely make their way to and from school.

On Friday, a very grateful Samuel Gompers School thanked the crossing guard as she made her celebratory final crossing.

"It's emotional," Harris said. "I'm excited on one side and heartbroken on the other side. This is my village. I have three families here. I am crossing as the third generation. I'm going to miss it."

Harris calls Gompers her home away from home.

"I didn't have children and these are my children," Harris said. "I always call them my babies. I have 38 years' worth of babies."

Earlier in the day, the school threw Harris a big assembly. She was overcome with emotion and tears as the crowd cheered their hearts out.

Faculty, staff, students and their families say Harris is a school staple.

Elected officials also joined in the celebration of Harris' service, dedication and care for the kids.

"I feel the love and I give the love back," Harris said. "These children make my mornings with the hugs, the high-fives, the elbow bumps, the tears. It makes my day and their day."

She said crossing guards are there when parents and caregivers can't be.

"Crossing guards are nurses, mommies, doctors," she laughed. "We carry band-aids, we try to be there for the children."

Harris first started working at the elementary school in the city's Overbrook section in 1984.

She's also served as Home and School President and as CEO of Gompers' United Parents for Successful Children.

When they asked what advice she has for the next crossing guard, Harris joked: "They have big shoes to fill."

"Please take care of my babies," she said.

Next stop for Harris? She's going on a cruise. Congratulations!