Lollipop man banned from giving kids ‘high fives’

Lollipop man Nkosana Mdikane, 73, who has been banned from 'high fiving' kids. Pic: HEMEDIA
Lollipop man Nkosana Mdikane, 73, who has been banned from 'high fiving' kids. Pic: HEMEDIA
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A LOLLIPOP man has been banned by council chiefs from dancing and giving children ‘high fives’ on their way to school.

Nkosana Mdikane, 74, has brightened up the mornings of hundreds of school kids and adults since taking up his road safety job in 2013.

It’s a bit unjust. I’ve never heard anyone ever complain about him.

Parent David Dufton

And he was previously hailed for his “excellent service” by the council thanks to his work outside Aitkenbar Primary School.

But West Dunbartonshire Council has now ruled he must “remain static with one hand on their stick and the other stretched outwards”.

Nkosana - affectionately known as ‘Smilie’ - said he respected the decision but hopes his bosses will have a change of heart.

He said: “The council is stopping me from high-fiving the kids while on duty.

“I never saw any problem in that. I’m just doing my job, but this is very emotional and affecting me.

“This issue was raised by the kids themselves. They said I can’t give them any more high fives. They cannot take it and I don’t like to see them upset.

“I’m respecting the decision and haven’t done it since I found out. I’ve agreed to stop.

“I have been doing this for about two years and all of a sudden I have to stop. They [the council] should revise their decision. They need to listen to the community.”

Before moving to Dumbarton from Vereeniging, South Africa in 2003, Nkosana worked as a delivery driver and a chauffeur.

Nkosana and wife Zoli, 73, a former nurse, were looking forward to retirement, but when his neighbour told him a position as lollipop man was available, he jumped at the opportunity.

He said: “This job is exciting. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.

“It has taken away the frustration and loneliness of being retired. I can’t be watching TV - that is too dull.”

Angry parents have now launched a campaign page on Facebook and a petition in a bid to reverse the decision.

Campaigner David Dufton, 36, a dad-of-three from Dumbarton, said: “It’s a shame.

“It’s a surprising U-turn. One minute they’re saying they love him, he’s a great guy and the next they’re telling him he can’t behave this way.

“He’s a 74 year old man and he’s out there in all weathers. It’s a bit unjust. I’ve never heard any one ever complain about him.”

“I think they have let him down a little bit.

“We would like the council to revise their decision. In terms of health and safety we don’t see a problem. He encourages people to cross at the crossing.

“Nkosana always puts a smile on people’s faces. I hope we can return the favour and put a little smile on his face with our campaign.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “All patrollers are instructed when crossing children over a road to remain static with one hand on their stick and the other stretched outwards.

“This ensures that they can be seen and effectively provides a barrier between school pupils and the traffic.”