An elementary school crossing guard had dozens of parents and students to thank this week, after his town chipped in to help him cross a major item off his bucket list.
Jeff Covel — known endearingly as "Mr. Jeff" by the families in his community — is a crossing guard at Nottingham Elementary School in Arlington, Va. He's also a die-hard fan of the Washington Nationals.
With his beloved baseball team competing in the World Series for the first time in the franchise's history, Covel decided he'd try to attend the game. The crossing guard made a sign asking for help getting tickets, which he posted on the sidewalk while he was working.
"Need World Series Tix (1 or 2) For 1 game only, prefer face value, 'bucket list,' Mr. Jeff Crossing Guard," the sign read, according to CNN.
Local parents Rachel Sullivan and Colleen Wright saw the sign and quickly looked for a way to help out Covel, who had previously been recognized as one of the state's most outstanding crossing guards.
"He's just so great with the kids, learning everyone's name and always greeting everybody with a smile," Wright told ARLnow.com.
The parents did some research and found that standing-room tickets for a game would cost around $1,000. Then, they posted Covel's sign in a private Facebook group — along with a Google form where parents could pledge donations.
More than 60 parents ended up chipping in, raising a total of $2,445. That amounted to enough for two regular seats to Game 4, where the Houston Astros will travel to Washington, D.C., to take on Covel's Nationals on Saturday.
The tickets themselves were one thing, but the surprise was another. Parents presented their gift to Covel while he was on the job, in a heartwarming video posted by the school district's Twitter page.
.@NTMKnightsAPS Crossing Guard and @Nationals fan Jeff Covel just received the surprise of a lifetime as more than 60 families chipped in for 2 #WorldSeries2019 tickets to game 5. @ArlingtonVaPD#FINISHTHEFIGHT#OnePursuitpic.twitter.com/s5OTAD9sop
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) October 23, 2019
The footage shows parents, kids and cameras flocking to the crossing guard, with many of them hoisting supportive signs that say things like, "We [heart] Mr. Jeff." Covel was visibly moved by the gesture.
"I teared up a little bit when I saw them coming down the street," Covel told CNN. "To me, it means so much to be appreciated for doing something that I enjoy doing. They are my extended family."
The Nationals currently hold a 2-0 lead against the Astros, and the two teams will play on Friday before Covel sees them in Game 4 on Saturday.