From Navy Vet To Needham Crossing Guard: David Pinkham Takes Safety Seriously

WBZ-TV's David Wade reports.

Video Transcript

- He's a show stopper and a traffic mover.

- A crossing guard in Needham is getting praise for his incredible dedication to keeping kids safe. And as I discovered, his background prepared him for duty.

Twice a day, the fluorescent vest comes out. The white gloves slip on. David Pinkham puts on his game face and fires himself up.

DAVID PINKHAM: I said to myself, all right, Dave. Game on. Come on. Let's do this. Let's get this traffic moving. [INAUDIBLE]

- Outside of Newman Elementary School in Needham, at drop off and pick up.

DAVID PINKHAM: Is that kid coming?

- It's Pinkham on patrol.

DAVID PINKHAM: There's six different lanes of traffic that's going out here. You've got one, you know, two, and then you've got three, four, five, and six.

- Pointing, running, waving, impressing.

- Mr Pinkham is the best crossing guard I've ever seen. He keeps traffic moving, he's great with the kids, he's dancing out there in the streets every day, and it's the best.

- He sort of has a dancy way of doing the-- helping with people cross.

- Dancy David hasn't been a crossing guard long. So where did he learn to move kids and cars with military precision? Well, in the military.

DAVID PINKHAM: My job was to hunt Soviet submarines. It was an anti-submarine warfare squadron.

- Pinkham was in the US Navy. This is him. His Cold War job was to direct air traffic on the tarmac.

DAVID PINKHAM: It was very challenging because you had so much going on around, and you got to pay attention. There's so many squadrons of helicopters, jets, P3s.

- In 1981, the Navy's magazine profiled Pinkham. The article was about his infectious energy directing planes, how his enthusiasm made him a favorite of Navy pilots.

So you had this back then.

DAVID PINKHAM: Yes, sir. I don't know why, David. I don't.

- How does working as a crossing guard over here compare to your work in the Navy?

DAVID PINKHAM: It's pretty much the same.

- Now it's buses instead of bombers, strollers instead of squadrons. But the 60-year-old is just as serious.

DAVID PINKHAM: That's not fit for man nor beast, David. It's not.

- He works outside of the school, outside school hours. But David Pinkham is teaching kids that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well.

What do you want people to know about you and your job?

DAVID PINKHAM: I'd like people to know that, hey, this guy cares.

- Thanks, David.

DAVID PINKHAM: And what I do out here is, I care.

- Wow.

- He does care, and he is a great guy. He told me, by the way, that he was a big disco dancer. I'm not kidding. When he was in the Navy. And he always keeps a song in his head while he's directing the traffic.

- Well, he obviously has the moves, but I also love knowing his back story. Because clearly, this is in his blood. This makes him tick, and people really do appreciate it.

- There are other dancing crossing guards, but this guy is special because all he cares about is the safety.

- He's taking it seriously.

- Very cool.

- Great story.