DRACUT -- Motor vehicles zoom up and down the Lakeview Avenue corridor in front of the Daoulas School Complex, many of them ignoring the posted 20-mph speed limit.
Steve Doyle puts his arm in front of a group of students waiting to cross.
"Hang on a second," he says before stepping into the bright yellow crosswalk.
The cars, some of the abruptly, come to a stop.
"OK, come on," he says, coaxing the students safely to the other side. "Rain, snow or shine. If there's school, I'm out here."
Doyle, 65, was born and raised in Roxbury and moved to Dracut in 1970, three years after marrying Lee, his wife of 45 years. They have two grown sons who attended the Dracut public schools.
Before his retirement, Doyle made his living in the printing industry, first with Honeywell Corp. and then on his own, working mostly out of his home.
Just as much as the school buses and the traffic lights, Doyle has been a fixture in the Dracut public schools for 15 years -- well, at least outside the schools.
Q: What do you like the most about this job?
A: "There's a lot to like about this job. I like the kids. I like being outside. I see a lot of people I know driving by. They hit the horn and wave. I like getting paid for one thing. Louis Panas, the former police chief, called me one day or ran into me somewhere, I forget, and he said, 'Do you want to be a crossing guard?' So I said, 'Sure.' I worked for a few days and he came by one day and said, 'You know you're getting paid for this, right?' I really wasn't sure."
Q: Have you ever had any trouble with the kids, or with the motorists?
A: "No, never. The kids are all polite. They wait until I say it's OK, even the older ones. Sometimes they say thank you. Very courteous. And I've never had a problem with the drivers. I don't just run out and stop traffic. I wait until there's a little space between the cars then I go out and stop traffic. (Lakeview Avenue) is very, very busy, all hours of the day. I'm not sure if it was better before the (traffic) lights went in. I guess the lights are a good thing."
Q: How long are you out here every day?
A: "In the morning, between the three schools, I'm out here about 2 1/2 hours. It's a little less in the afternoon, about two hours and 10 minutes. When I had my own business it got a little tricky but I was working out of my house and I live right up the street. I could walk down. But then about eight years ago they asked me to do the Campbell School and then the Parker. It works out because the schools all start and get out at different times. They use many of the same buses so they have to stagger the times. The high school gets out at 10 minutes to 2 and I'm at the Campbell a little before they start getting out a 3:10."
Q: What historical figure would you like to have met?
A: "Ted Williams. I guess that's historical. I've been following Major League Baseball for 55 years and I don't think anybody will match him. And don't forget, he took five years out of his career to serve as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot in World War II for three years. Then he came back to baseball and left again for two years to go fight in Korea. He just seems like the kind of guy you could sit around and shoot the breeze with. He probably had a million stories."
Q: What's the one thing you would have liked to have done but never got to?
A: "You know something? I never really thought of that. I guess I always wanted to be able to skate and maybe play hockey but I never could. I never had good ankles or good balance. I watch people and I say, 'Gee, I wish I could do that.' But no ankles and no balance. I'm out of luck."