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Crossing guard pair goes extra mile to keep kids safe

MILLCREEK — Highland Drive is one of the busiest streets in the Salt Lake Valley, connecting Sugar House with Holladay. There’s rarely a dull moment from the morning rush to the evening commute.

“Most schools don’t have a major highway they’re crossing.”

Kids who go to William Penn Elementary cross that street every day. 

“Nobody slows down for school zones. They think the yellow flashing is a caution for the Indy 500.”

That’s where Oke Wiberg and his wife come into play.

Nelda is a paid crossing guard, and Oke provides the support by holding up a big “SLOW DOWN School Zone” sign.

“These people won’t slow down,” he says. “I found out if I put the sign out here, wave it at them, it gets their attention, they will slow down.

There are flashing lights and signs at this intersection, but it’s these two words that make all the difference.

“It just makes it easier for people to see ‘slow down.’ A lot of people come in and they see the sign and say, ‘Oh yeah, OK.'”

“That sign helps amazingly enough,” one person nearby said.

I personally drive this street probably 20 times a day. I see his sign, and I look at that and I think, ‘This is going above and beyond.'”

KSL wanted to give Oke and Nelda a High 5.

William Penn’s principal said the High 5 is much deserved.

“The fact that these guys are taking the time out of their busy lives to protect our kids says a lot about them,” Penn said.

Oke and Nelda have gotten to know the kids well, even dressing up in funny outfits from time to time to brighten their day — like the animal hats they were wearing Thursday.

“He bought his hat in California like five yeas ago,” Nelda said. “We liked it so well that when we started doing this, he said, ‘Well I’m going to wear my dog hat.’ And I said, ‘Well I don’t have one.’ So he went out and bought me one.”

“St. Patrick’s Day is coming,” Oke said. “I’ll dress up like a leprechaun and pass out little gold coins.”


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