The Conscientious Cross-Guard
|A Question of Loyalty||The Conscientious Cross-Guard||An Act of Nobility|
Bernard Walton tells a story about when he was a crossing guard and had to stand up to a bully.
It all started when Bernard won the Campbell County Custodial Commission’s highest honor, the Golden Squeegee Award. Bernard addresses the guests in attendance at the gala affair, telling them of a particular incident in his life that taught him the importance of perseverance.
The incident happened when he was in middle school...Young Bernard and his best friend, Nick, are crossing guards, a position and responsibility they hold proudly. Of course, no job is completely without risk or an element of danger. In this case, the danger comes from a thug named Tanyer Hyde and his gang.
Tanyer likes nothing better than to break the rules and pick on young Bernard, and on this particular morning, Tanyer gets the chance to do both. Unfortunately for Hyde and his gang, they don’t see the school principal drive up to them as they torment Bernard. The principal reprimands Hyde and his gang, giving them all detention that afternoon, subsequently forcing them to miss their big baseball game.
This makes them furious at Bernard, and they vow to get him back that afternoon after school. Bernard tries everything he can think of to get help facing the bullies, but circumstances and the cowardice of his friends leave him to fight all alone. Even his best friend, Nick, refuses to help. Nick tells Bernard: Just leave. No one will care. It’s certainly not worth getting practically killed. But Bernard remembers some advice the old school janitor, Mr. Umphrees, once gave him: Turn to a higher power for strength.
Bernard does just that, and he stays to face Tanyer. Bernard is by himself, but not alone. Tanyer and his gang pick on Bernard, shoving him out into the street and into the path of an oncoming car! Mr. Umphrees saves Bernard by pushing him out of the way. In the process, the old janitor gets hit.
Later, at the hospital, Mr. Umphrees says that when he was young, he faced a similar situation. But Umphrees ran away. Helping Bernard was the old janitor’s chance to redeem himself.
Back at the banquet, Bernard thanks Mr. Umphrees for teaching him the importance of sticking to his guns, doing his duty, and remembering that with God, you’re never alone.
 Discussion Questions
- Why did Mr. Umphrees think it was so important for young Bernard to stay at his position?
- Was he right?
- Why did everyone abandon Bernard?
- Would you have stayed if you were Bernard?
- If you were his friend, would you have helped him?
- Why or why not?
- Chad Reisser, who played Nick in this episode, was cast on the day of its recording.
- This episode was written as a tribute to the classic Gary Cooper movie "High Noon."
- Parts of this episode (such as the bully and the line "make like a tree and leave") mimic the Back to the Future movies when Marty is in the year 1955.
- This was David Griffin's first episode since #154: “Coming of Age” and the first since #56: “By Faith, Noah” in which he played a character other than Jimmy Barclay.
 QuotesBernard Walton: People never say what they mean any more.
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