The power of the lollipop

On the way to work this morning I had to stop because of a lollipop lady. Except... it wasn't because of the lollipop lady; I stopped because the traffic light was red. This particular lollipop lady was posted at a crossing with lights. So her job is not to stop the traffic to allow children to cross the road; her job is to press the button so the lights change. Let me be clear on this - the woman is a government employee who is employed to press a button. To be fair, that's not all she does. When the lights changed she still walked out into the crossing with her arms out (in the "stopping traffic" position), blew on her little whistle and motioned to the pedestrians to cross the road. The thing is, though, the traffic would have stopped anyway. The lights were red. Red means stop, and in peak hour traffic it's actually quite difficult to say, "I'm going to gun it and run this red light" because there are usually lots of (stationary) cars in the way. And I know that we say, "oh, kids today... they're useless" but my guess is that any one of them could have pressed the button themselves, and once the lights changed and the little green "it's okay to walk now" light came on they would probably have managed to get across the road without her supervision.

Okay, she's probably there not so much to help the kids to cross but to stop them crossing against the lights, but still... it seems like a colossal waste of time and tax dollars.


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