Norval Harwood: The Cheerful Mr. Bus

“Norval Harwood: The Cheerful Mr. Bus,” Ensign, Oct. 1988, 54–55

Norval Harwood: The Cheerful Mr. Bus

Students at Cascade Elementary School in Orem, Utah, have their own local hero. Norval Ross Harwood, a member of the Orem Second Ward and their “Mr. Bus,” has been the crossing guard there for ten years. He is almost as much an institution as is the school itself.

“I love these little kids,” he says. “Since I lost my wife four years ago, each one has become like family. I know their habits—who’ll be earliest, who’ll be latest. And I stay right here until I know everyone is where he or she is supposed to be. I also love to watch the new kindergartners, clinging to their mothers at first and gradually growing bolder as the year passes.”

The piece of pavement between the broad stripes of paint crossing the street is Mr. Bus’s turf. His very presence warms it: he waves to everyone who passes—and nearly all wave back. He has a cheery greeting for every pedestrian, especially his little friends at Cascade. He calls them each by name, and they remember him on his birthday and at Christmas. Last spring, Norval was honored during a special school assembly with a plaque acknowledging his loving service to the school.

He admits that, as the children’s guardian of safety, he has had words with the occasional motorist who “doesn’t think he should have to slow down in a school zone.” When a student runs out into the street without looking, Mr. Bus kindly explains the possible consequences. “I’m never angry with them,” he says. “I usually just put my arm around them and let them know what could happen if they aren’t more careful.”

A retired civil service worker, “Bus” Harwood loves “his” children. It would be hard to say who brightens whose life more.

Photography by Jed A. Clark