The Work We Do: Kelly Daniels, Riverhead Town crossing guard

My name is Kelly Daniels. I’ve been a crossing guard for 16 years.

I work at the Long Island Aquarium and St. Isidore’s on Sunday for church.

A typical day? No two are ever the same. It can be busy and it can be quiet. I’m on-and-off busy all day talking, giving directions.

I meet a lot of interesting people.

I always try to remember someone in that crowd when they go across the street. Like, OK that lady had a pink T-shirt on, I’ll remember she’s going to come across and back up the street. I try to do that to just to make sure I keep everything flowing smoothly — kind of keep it like a chain reaction.

I think a lot of it is just common sense, to study the situation like, “I’ve got people here, the traffic is here.”

We do more than just crossing people across the street. I make it my mission to talk to everybody and make the world a better place and maybe they might pass it on to somebody else. It makes them more apt to come up and tell you if something is happening. People aren’t so afraid to ask you questions.

Kelly Daniels. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)

The best part of my job is to see the kids when they’re so excited to get going and see the animals. When they come out I ask them, “Did you have fun? What was your favorite part?”

I think I’m a people person. I guess everybody sees my smile and thinks they can just say, “Hey, how ya doin’?” and then they stand there for 20 minutes, a half-hour, and we’re talking about anything and everything. The officers … there’s a couple that do stop and ask if I need help, just to check and make sure I’m OK.

Working at St. Isidore’s, when I first started there, I asked a couple of the people how to say good morning and goodbye in Polish. I just want to be able to speak to them in their own language. And now I have a repertoire of all sorts of Polish words. I love this job. It’s a wonderful thing that you get to meet a lot of nice people.

‘The Work We Do’ is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. This weekly feature is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview. See the complete list of previous profiles here.