Ashby has influenced the lives of students not only by walking them across the street for 20 years, but by visiting various schools as a mountain man to talk about the history of Utah. He calls himself “the ancient one” and goes to various classes for both school and church.
“I am just a history nut, I remember stories,” said Ashby. “It drives my family nuts when I start saying, ‘that reminds me of a story...’”
Ashby has a long history in other parts of the county, including work on Antelope Island and with the historical society in Salt Lake City. Ashby gets his stories in a sort of first-hand way and likes to make sure they get passed along. “And I’ve traveled all over the world.”
As a crossing guard for the district, Ashby has seen trends from students with tassels on their bikes to 11-year-olds carrying cell phones. “They all have one now,” said Ashby.
Any student who crosses his crosswalk knows they can’t move from one sidewalk to the next without hearing the blow of his whistle. “It’s a good way to communicate with them,” he said. Students also have to walk their bicycles and scooters across the street, and not bounce basketballs along the way.
Most students also know that to get a bit of good luck, they get a running start to jump and slap Ashby’s stop sign.
“It started when I used to play Santa Claus,” he said. “I grew my beard out long so I didn’t have to wear a fake one. Then I told kids they could pull it for good luck. The idea just kind of stuck.”
Ashby said that having students constantly pull on his beard did get a little weary, and he began having them slap the stop sign in his hand.
He also said the main thing he struggles with as a guard is drivers. Ashby said he has been hit by a driver once before.
“I could see she didn’t want to stop, so I held my sign high and slowly started to the other side,” said Ashby. “She just kept creeping forward and forward until she finally hit me.”