“I grew up in Prichard. One day I asked the Lord what can I do to make people feel good about themselves. God said, ‘You have the gifts of a smile, a wave and love.’ I went to the Prichard police station to ask for a job. They asked what I had to offer. I said I can make people feel happy about themselves. They hired me to be a crossing guard. I’ve been a crossing guard for 25 years. I was in Prichard for ten years and I’ve been at the Corpus Christi school for 15 years.
When I came out here 15 years ago, Hillcrest Road was a two-lane highway. I stood in the middle praying please don’t hit me. God told me, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ve got you covered.’ I was hit once, but I kept on moving and doing what I was supposed to do. God told me this is my ministry and I don’t miss a day. I’m here every morning and afternoon, even in the rain, cold, fog and heat. In 2019, it was so hot that I almost fainted out there, but I was going to do my job.
The kids make me feel so good when they say, ‘I love you, Mrs. Smith.’ People call me ‘Mrs. Sunshine’ because I always bring light. Some say I came out of my mom’s womb smiling. I want to help people to feel love and to know that someone cares. One guy comes out to watch me every morning. Some drive out of their way just to see me because I make them happy. I hope that if someone is having a bad day, I can make their day a little better. I love giving love to people. There are some mean people with attitudes out here, too. Some don’t stop or slow down. I can’t let that bother me.
I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. The first thing I do is thank the Lord for another day. I play praise music and start dancing. That praise music is in my head while I direct cars. I dance out there, too. Every morning, I pray for every person in every car. These people don’t know how much they’ve been prayed for. I don’t know what they are going through, but I know they are going through something. We all are. Strangers ask me to pray for their family, and I pray for them when I get home.
I thank God for the gifts of joy and positivity. Those get me through the tough times. When I get down, I turn on praise music and dance. I let out what I feel in my heart. I lost my husband six years ago. He was on dialysis and had cancer. I took care of him all of those years. I met him when I was in the 10th or 11th grade at Blount High School. I liked him, but he was dating another girl. I bided my time and married him when I was 18. We had our ups and downs, but we stuck it out. I brought him to Jesus. I prayed, ‘God save my husband’ for 28 years before he was saved. I was alright when he died. The Lord told me, ‘You’re going to have a miracle.’ The miracle was my husband no longer in pain and went home to be with the Lord. We were married for almost 50 years. We had two sons who never gave us any trouble.
In the summers, I volunteer at hospitals, nursing homes and Metro Jail. I like visiting dementia patients at the nursing home. We sing the old hymns. They may not remember much, but they remember the words to songs. Music is still in them and God is there. I also love visiting the ladies in the Metro Jail. I make mistakes in life. All of us do. The people in jail are just as important to Jesus as I am. God loves them just as much as he loves me.
This past August, I couldn’t sleep at night. I went to the doctor. They did an EKG and said my heart was bad. They didn’t understand how I was alive. They put a monitor on my heart and sent me home. They called me while I was sleeping because they thought my heart had stopped and I was dead. I went to the doctor the next day and my heart rate was 30 to 39 beats per minute, but I was walking around and felt fine. They put in a pacemaker. I should have died in August, but I know God has me. Don’t let something knock you down. Get back up and go again. I still have a purpose. My school has brought me food and cared for me during my hard times. They call me family, but that school is a total blessing to me.
Gratitude and humility are how I live my life. I was reading this morning about letting your light shine. Let your light shine by the spirit of God in you. Then the spirit will begin to spread to others around you. Lord, thank you for that. I want my light to shine.”