CARLISLE—Rob Stone is known for making people smile, but is going through the most difficult time of his life.
The crossing guard, however, now has the support of his school community.
Stone knows the names of hundreds of students at Dickinson College.
“How are you, Alex? Have a good day. Rachel, have a good day. Carolyn, have a good day. Megan, you get your hug again,” Stone casually says as he does his job.
The humble crossing guard is a local icon.
“I think he’s the most well-known and beloved man on campus,” said Carolyn Goode, a student at Dickinson. “He brightens my day.”
“He takes the time to get to know all the students,” said Megan Salerno, who goes to Dickinson. “He’ll take you to the side after he’s done with his job. He’ll talk to you about your day.”
It’s the little things Stone remembers that make a big impact.
“You’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m going to an exam.’ He’ll make sure to ask about it the next day,” said Alex Bonser, a senior who has known Stone since her freshman year.
But this past February, it was Stone who needed some support. His 32-year-old daughter, Catelyn, died unexpectedly, leaving behind his baby grandson.
“I’m living the parent’s worst nightmare. You never want to hear that,” he said. “I had to come back to work. Just sitting at home, I would be a bundle of tears.”
“I just remember seeing him and then both of us just broke down into tears,” said Megan Moran, who goes to Dickinson. “It’s hard to care about someone like that ... to see them going through something like that.”
So it became the students’ turn to pay it forward.
They created this Go-Fund-Me page, www.gofundme.com/robsdaughter, and raised more than $7,000 for Stone’s family.
“I used to always give him high fives and now I give him hugs because he doesn’t get to hug his daughter anymore, and that’s just tremendously tragic,” said Rachel Lapp, a Dickinson student.
Even though Stone is still grieving, the Philly-native continues to spread joy and positivity.
“The whole community showed me so much compassion and love,” Stone said. “I don’t think I’d be this far along if it wasn’t for the students.”
“One of the most selfless human-beings I’ve ever encountered,” Bonser said. “In a way that he can just impact somebody within seconds, and make them smile.”
Stone says he plans to work at Dickinson until he retires.