INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A school crossing guard is still in the hospital after getting hit by a car while on the job last Friday morning.
Support is rolling in for Tony Taylor, 63, from the students and parents who he loves seeing every day.
"You never know the impact of a smile." said Tony, who certainly knows the power of a smiling face.
The traffic guard is still managing to wear one, even with a concussion, 18 stitches in his leg and an ankle so badly broken it required surgery.
It happened outside North Central High School.
"I remember hitting the ground and waking up in the hospital going, 'Where's my clothes? I'm supposed to be at work,'" Tony said.
Right now, the only work Tony has to focus on is getting better, while loves pours in from kids, parents and teachers to a man they affectionately call, "Officer Smiley."
"He always has a smile, always," said North Central PTO Co-President Stacy Lozer.
"Tony is beloved by not only the student body, but also the parents and the community of Washington Township," added Principal Dr. Evans Branigan.
So much so, that more than $28,000 has been raised to help Tony. Others are already making meals for when he gets home, not to mention the students waiting to bring him get well cards.
"I knew that I was loved, but not to this huge extent that I"m seeing right now," said Tony, choking back the tears. Such strong emotions are the result of 11 years on a job where Officer Smiley has become so much more than a traffic guard to students and parents. He has cheered kids on at school events, talked to them about their lives and goes out of his way to make sure no-one is getting bullied like he says he did in school.
"I grew up with a speech impediment," Tony told us. "My mother sat me down and said, 'One day at a time. One moment at a time. You're gonna get through this.'" It's wisdom he's following now so he can get back on the job as soon as possible.
He has to, there's a smile missing from peoples' lives and that smile belongs to Tony.
"I can't leave 'em hanging. I can't," Tony said, smiling.