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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC crossing guard set to cross country

Crossing guard Joann Isom hugs UNC junior Carlos Salas after receiving money raised via GoFundMe for Isom to take a trip to visit her son. Salas set up the GoFundMe fundraiser after seeing Isom's story on the Humans of UNC Facebook page.
Crossing guard Joann Isom hugs UNC junior Carlos Salas after receiving money raised via GoFundMe for Isom to take a trip to visit her son. Salas set up the GoFundMe fundraiser after seeing Isom's story on the Humans of UNC Facebook page.

The walk to Polk Place from the depths of South Campus for a Monday morning 8 a.m. class can seem like a tiresome effort for the average first-year student. Most students’ mornings, however, are brightened just a little by a simple “good morning” or “have a nice day” from Joann Isom, a crossing guard on South Road. 

“She is just a really nice person," said sophomore Alex Kim.  "Every morning, whenever I just cross the road, she is always just very nice and smiling, and I always say thank you because I think she just fosters an environment where people want to say thank you to her because she is just so great."

Kim decided to dress up as Isom for Halloween this year after debuting a UNC-themed costume last year.

“My admiration of her made me want to be like, ‘Oh, this is what I want to be for Halloween,’” Kim said.

After seeing a post about Isom on the “Humans of UNC” Facebook page, junior Carlos Salas thought of the idea to set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her to visit her son in Arizona.

“I was looking at the post, and it had about 400 likes and people were commenting all sorts of nice things about Joann,” Salas said. “I thought that all of those 400 people could come together and do something cool for her, if we gave them the platform to do so.”

The fundraiser, that started in mid-October, raised more than $7,600, surpassing an original goal of $700. Salas said because of the quantity of donations received, he believes this will help her move into a nicer apartment in a better part of the city.

“I think that’s the bigger thing and better thing that came out of this,” he said. “Not only is she able to go see her son, but we’re actually able to help her and her quality of life that’s going to affect her for a lot longer than just a trip.”

Isom received the money raised by the community on Friday in the Student Union. She said she was nervous walking over because she didn’t know what to expect.

“It means a lot. Never in a million years would have thought nothing like this would ever happen,” Isom said. “Like I said, I am surprised, I’m shocked, it is just amazing.”

Salas said he figured most people would know Isom because of her central location and the amount of students she encounters every day.

“Just kind of seeing the reaction that everyone had, it really goes to show that people really are paying attention to these people that we encounter on a daily basis,” he said. “It is really cool to be able to give back to a community of people that give us some positivity every day just by a smile or a wave or some kindness."

@danielleeeb5

university@dailytarheel.com

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