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Community raises money for crossing guard to see his grandchild for first time

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Posted at 11:27 AM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 12:28:21-05

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KNXV) — An Arizona community came together to give a beloved crossing guard an early Christmas present.

Walter Spano can be found outside Payne Junior High School in Queen Creek, rain or shine, welcoming children and making sure they safely navigate their way to campus.

“Over the last year and a half, just talking to him every day, he’s always got a little spring in his step," said Mark Schneider. "He’s just got a smile on his face and he’s so nice to the kids."

The Schneider family launched a GoFundMe campaign to make sure Spano got an unexpected Christmas wish. They are hoping to raise enough for him to be able to fly out to California and see his granddaughter for the very first time.

“You know, just times are tight, and it was tough and he just didn’t have the finances to go visit and I was like, 'Oh man, I just want this guy to be able to go visit or at least have some extra money so he can have a nice Christmas,'” said Schneider.

The Schneider family donated the first $300 towards the campaign. Using social media to get the word out, others chipped in.

“I’m really excited. I hope he gets to have a good Christmas and spend time with his family,” said Schneider's young daughter, Ava.

As storm clouds began to clear Monday morning, the Schnieders delivered their gift.

“You’ve got a great heart and you’ve been nice enough to open up about your life and share things with us, so we got you a little card here. You can open that up," Schneider told Spano. "I talk to the kids that know you and say that you’re like the nicest, sweetest guy ever and we just want to give you something to make your Christmas a little better."

Along with a handwritten note was a check for $2,200.

“I’m gonna go call my son really fast, like real fast, let him know I’ll be coming soon,” said Spano. “This is just incredible.”

This story was originally reported by Cameron Polom on abc15.com.