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Making a Difference: Madison crossing guard brightens his corner of the world

Bob Ringquist
Bob Ringquist(NBC15)
Published: Oct. 15, 2018 at 9:16 PM CDT
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When you cross paths with Bob Ringquist at his crosswalk, it doesn't take you long to figure out, Bob has the corner on happiness.

He greets both pedestrians and drivers at the corner of Glenway and Monroe Street in Madison with an enthusiastic wave, and knows many of those passing by each morning by name. A number of those walking or driving by wave back, or stop to talk with Bob, who became a crossing guard six years ago.

He remembers the crossing guards when he was a kid, always looked up to them, and decided to become one himself.

Bob said, "It's a nice feeling. These people and I literally are strangers, except for this short block of time that we see each other. It's a nice feeling to make an impact on people we don't know..except for down here."

When we stopped by one recent morning, three different people who walk or drive by Bob on a regular basis stopped to sing his praises.

Jessica Maes said, "He's the happiest person ever!". Bridget Dodge added, "His infectious joy is everywhere...and he's warming people's hearts. The kids just feel so protected and loved by him." After giving Bob a big hug, Randi Smith said, "It's just infectious. It makes you happy to see someone who spreads their joy...and it's so genuine."

Bob said spreading a little joy each morning brings him joy. "I am very lucky to be at this corner...because of the people. They kind of make me feel like I'm wanted here....and that is a good feeling to know you're wanted somewhere."

That makes the corner of Glenway and Monroe a "somewhere" where no one feels like a stranger--at least for an hour each weekday morning.

Bob brightens his little corner of the world with his hands....and his heart. As Randi Smith put it, "If the world were full of more people like Bob, it would be a great place to be."

(If you'd like to learn more about applying to be a Madison crossing guard, click

. If you'd like to nominate someone for NBC15's Making a Difference Award, click

.)