The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

UNC's favorite crossing guard gets recognition on Facebook

Joann Isom direct pedestrian and vehicle traffic every morning in front of the bell tower to help students get safely to and from class.
Joann Isom direct pedestrian and vehicle traffic every morning in front of the bell tower to help students get safely to and from class.

Joann Isom, better known as the friendly crossing guard on South Road, always shouts this to cars and students as they wait to cross.

Recently, students have expressed their gratitude in a way other than yelling back “Thank you” to Isom.

It started with a Feb. 3 post on the Overheard at UNC Facebook page where one student shared their appreciation for Isom. Thousands of other students on the page clicked “like” to agree.

Though she has been working at UNC as a crossing guard for eight years and has said that the students here have always been nice, she did not realize how much attention students actually gave her.

Isom was the last to find out about her popularity on campus. After the Facebook post about her gained popularity, a student stopped her at the bus stop to show her the post.

“It made me feel really appreciated,” she said. “I was like wow, I didn’t know I was thought about like that.”

Students who cross South Road every day see the most of Isom. First-year Emily Gibson lives on south campus, so she sees her whenever she goes to class.

She said that she is grateful for Isom.

“That woman is a lifesaver, I swear,” Gibson said. “She stops traffic when I need to get across real quick. But she’s always so sweet.”

Islom has become so famous on campus that first-year Andrew Cheng dressed as her for Halloween.

He assembled his costume with her classic outfit: black pants, yellow rain jacket, whistle, neon vest and black hat.

Though Franklin Street was full of people from all around North Carolina who had no idea what his costume was, Chang said those from UNC had no problem recognizing his costume.

“They thought it was funny and also on our way there I would do what she does, with the whistle and just tell cars to hold on and let people go,” he said.

While Cheng never confessed to Isom that she inspired his costume, imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery because he spoke highly of her and what she does.

“When I see her standing out there in the rain and still helping people, I think it’s just great that she sticks with it,” Chang said. “I say ‘Thank you’ every time I pass by her, and she’s always like so cheery and says ‘You’re welcome’ in such a great way.”

Isom said that she’s pleased to know that students regard her so warmly.

“It’s nice to feel like I am appreciated because it can be hard out there sometimes in the rain and the cold and the heat.”


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.