SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Christmas came early for a Syracuse crossing guard after hundreds of people had sent more than $2,000 in gifts. 

Just before school let out in Syracuse for the winter break, passersby at the intersection of 3000 West and Antelope Drive spotted a warm embrace between crossing guard Tremayne Gillis, 26, and thankful parents.  

“I’m honestly blown away,” Gillis said. “Yeah, that’s about it. Honestly, just thank you. It’s so sweet. It’s one of the kindest things I think anyone has ever done for me.” 

Every day, twice a day, whether it be sunny, raining or snowing, Gillis walks nearly five miles to the intersection to do his job. It is not a feat that has gone unnoticed by his community.  

“I love these kids,” Gillis said. “I get to talk to them for like 15-second intervals because they’re just here and then they cross over, they walk that way, and then they’re out of here. So, I don’t really know any of their names, but they’re all so sweet.”  

Gillis started his job just months ago, and he emphasized that it was the best job he has ever had because he takes pedestrian safety seriously. 

“I’m very, very serious about pedestrian safety. Like, kind of in a nerdy way almost,” Gillis said. 

Heather Mickey, mother, explained that many people around Syracuse have noticed how dedicated he is by walking such a long way while always being to his post early, and for the positive interactions he has with the children.

“The kids will say things like: ‘he holds the sign up so high so that we are safe.’ They love him, and he loves them in return,” Mickey said. 

Mickey’s son is one of the children who always has a positive interaction with Gillis. The two decided to give Gillis something as a thank you. They figured a warm pair of socks or new gloves would be a good gift. Mickey thought others may also feel the same way and so she posted on Facebook. She invited others to give a dollar, if they could, and she’d pool the money to get Gillis a gift card. 

That $1 donation became more than $2,000. 

“I just think a little kindness is infectious,” Mickey said. 

Mickey went out and used that money to buy warm clothes, gift cards and an electric scooter (which a local business sold at a generous price) to help make Gillis’ commute a little easier.

“I walk everywhere, so just to the grocery store or wherever I’m going, it’s going to be a huge blessing,” Gillis stated. “It’s going to be amazing.” 

Other than the scooter, Gillis’ gifts were safely placed in a large Christmas bag. Along with many nice objects, there was a surprise tucked away inside the gift bag. Mickey printed out all of the kind comments people left on her Facebook post. The comments filled three full pages. Those three pages full of hundreds of kind messages were safely placed inside with all the other goodies. 

“I think the words of love and appreciation are going to mean just as much to him,” Mickey said.