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Behind The Badge: Bountiful couple provides safe crossing to Adelaide Elementary students

Behind the Badge

BOUNTIFUL (ABC4 News) – A Bountiful couple is keeping local kids safe…one crossing at a time.

Paul and Eileen Tooke work for the Davis County Sheriff’s Office and even though they’re not sworn officers, they serve and protect every weekday morning and afternoon of the school year.

Paul is the friendly face stationed outside of Adelaide Elementary School at the corner of 3600 South and 800 West in Bountiful where he knows all the kids by name.

“Hey, Easton. How ya doin’ dude?” he said on a recent afternoon. “See you guys. See you, Elliott. See you, Kyle.”

“The kids, they’re all different but they’re all pleasant, 99 percent of ’em,” Paul told Behind The Badge. “I enjoy them. I relate to them somehow.”

A few blocks away, Eileen handles the crosswalk at 3800 South and 750 West. She’s been a crossing guard for years, the last five for Davis County. 

When Paul, a former nurse, retired last year he decided to join her. With their own kids grown now, they spend their early morning and midafternoons escorting the young students they’ve gotten to know.

“There’s one little boy…he was crying the other day and I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said, ‘Just problems at home’. Well I grew up in a home that didn’t have both parents there all the time and I understood what he was going through.  I told him ‘I’m your friend. Remember that.’ Since then, this was last week, he’s just warmed up to me a lot.”

Putting on the reflective vest and grabbing the stop sign isn’t getting Paul and Eileen rich but they say it pays in more ways than one.

 “I get to see happy children all the time. You start your day with somebody happy. I love it,” Eileen said. “If you start the day out with children that are happy, your day goes good.”

They tell me by just spending a few seconds with the kids, it’s impossible to be “cross”.

“Of all the jobs I’ve had in my life, I like this one the best,” Paul said. “I really do.”

Paul and Eileen say they enjoy the job so much, they keep their sunny dispositions even on the days when they’re standing out in the rain or snow.

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