Bright and early Monday to Friday, Frank Bolger begins his day with a tap and a twist as he dances his way around Seton Hall’s main entrance, helping others cross the busy intersection.
The crossing guard begins his shift at 7:30 a.m. and although he has only been there for about a year, Bolger said it has had positive impacts on his life, specifically his health.
When he first started working as a crossing guard, Bolger walked around the intersection to get exercise, which is necessary for Type 2 diabetics like himself.
Gradually, he added a step here and a spin there, and pretty soon the walking turned into dancing.
Drivers and walkers alike found joy in his dance moves, honking their horns or making comments as they pass, even though he has “never danced a step in [his] life,” Bolger said.
Sophomore biology major Ashlei Watson walks to school every morning from her home in South Orange.
She said she admires how Bolger is both fun and serious about his job.
“At first it looks silly but when he helps me cross the street, he immediately gets very serious. You can tell that he takes his job and the safety of the people crossing the street very seriously,” Watson said. “Watching him dance is just a really nice bonus for my mornings.”
Lucinda White, a South Orange resident, often walks past SHU on her walks to Spa Lady South Orange Fitness Center, and said Bolger’s enthusiasm motivates her before her workout.
“When I go to the gym, I look forward to seeing him. It’s very uplifting when I’m on my way to the gym—that’s a motivation for me,” White said. “He has all this energy in the morning and that’s what I need on my way to the gym.”
Junior Kristine London commutes one hour to SHU from East Brunswick.
The Catholic studies major said although being a commuter can get hectic, seeing Bolger makes her feel joyful.
“I’ve seen the crossing guard bright and early in the morning as well as before I head home from school sometimes,” London said. “It’s often easy to get bombarded by the crazy tiredness of being a commuter student, but the crossing guard gives me a momentary sense of joy in the midst of stress. It’s so inspiring to see someone be so carefree.”
Bolger said drivers often greet him by honking their horns and walkers have short conversations with him as they cross the street.
Regardless of the close relationship he shares with members of the community, Bolger asks that everyone stay aware of their surroundings and do not stop in the middle of the street to record him.
“The only thing that began to concern me is that I would get people doing dangerous things just to film me,” Bolger said. “I don’t want to cause an accident and I’m afraid that I’ll be a nuisance to the driving public.”
Bolger said he has personal ties to South Orange and enjoys working in the area.
He attended Seton Hall Preparatory School, which was previously located on SHU’s campus, and graduated in 1972.
Although he did not graduate from the university, he also attended SHU for one semester in the fall of 1972 before leaving school.
“I probably could’ve gotten a job up where I live, which is in Roseland,” he said.
But Bolger said he grew up in South Orange and his brother was a police office in South Orange, so he has ties to the town and wanted to work here.
Katherine Segovia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.