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I’ve been a lollipop lady for 40 years

Many of us will remember our elementary school crossing patrol officer – or as they were affectionately and more commonly known, our ‘lollipop lady’.

Whatever the weather, rain or shine, most will recall being greeted at the gate with a cheery smile and ‘good morning!’ like you were helped on the way.

Carole Hicks greets everyone with a smile and loves her job so much, she has no plans to retire

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Carole Hicks greets everyone with a smile and loves her job so much, she has no plans to retireCredit: Carole Hicks

But have you ever considered how much more is left in the role than when it started?

Carole Hicks has been a lollipop saleswoman for over 40 years, at the school her grown children attended when they were young.

Here, she shares exactly what happened – from how she reacted to abusive angry drivers on the road, to her relationship with staff and parents…

Police training

As a School Crossroads Patrol officer, there’s a lot to think about and the safety of hundreds of children is in your hands – so there’s actually quite a bit of training in place.

“When I first started in 1981, we were trained by the police,” says Carole.

“I know the lady who sold lollipops before, and I told her I needed a part-time job to help pay the bills because my husband was on surplus.

School Crossroads Patrol officers make sure parents and children can cross the street safely outside of crowded schools

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School Crossroads Patrol officers make sure parents and children can cross the street safely outside of crowded schoolsCredit: Getty

“They interviewed me and then I had a trial, and the officer showed me how to stop the car.

“They decided that I was fine, and that was it.

“I never thought I’d be here all these years, but I really love it!

“We had to take regular courses, and all the lollipop people I met loved their jobs.

“We regularly check and someone check our equipment is working like our lights, and also observe our work.”

‘It can be dangerous’

You don’t necessarily think of the role of women selling lollipops as a high-risk business, but they are ultimately harming the very children they help.

Carole said: “My job is to keep the kids safe.

“It can be very dangerous at times – drivers can go up the lane very quickly and over the years it has gotten busier and busier.

“Sometimes they think it’s funny to get as close to you as they can and sometimes they abuse you a little but that’s usually not so bad.

“If they get very aggressive, you just have to try and smile. I’m always polite.”

‘I hate getting wet’

The worst part? Carole said of course it was unpredictable British weather.

“I do 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon,” she says.

“The hardest part is the weather. I don’t like rain and wet.

“It was cold this morning, so I wore all four layers.

“I have fur leggings, joggers, a thick sweater, a fleece and then a jacket, a sweatshirt, a hat, and thick socks.

“Once you’re out and packed, I don’t mind the cold – I just hate getting wet.

“I’d rather be busy than stand around doing nothing!”

‘Everybody Calls Me Carole Lollipop’

For Carole, it’s an absolute joy to see all the students and parents every morning, though she admits: “You’re unpopular, but you do get some little kids. especially – always have a smile on your face.

“For my 40th anniversary, my parents just spoiled me. I had a great get-together, and the staff saw me as one of them. It’s a community in its own right.

“They all call me Carole lollipop, and everyone says hello and good morning.”

Due to the welcoming atmosphere at the school gates, Carole has no plans to retire.

She added: “It keeps me young, and even though I’m 77, everyone says I don’t look at it – and I don’t act like it either!”

Drivers need to be extra vigilant outside crowded schools where children can cross

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Drivers need to be extra vigilant outside crowded schools where children can crossCredit: Getty
I’m a lollipops woman and how is this REAL work?

https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/8264249/lollipop-lady-what-its-really-like-rude-drivers/ I’ve been a lollipop lady for 40 years

Fry Electronics Team

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