WASHINGTON PARK — The past eight months have been a whirlwind for Tammy Anderson.
The Beasley Academic Center crossing guard — who is known for dancing while she helps kids cross the street, her megawatt smile and her generous spirit — has become a bit of a celebrity, with a viral video, a Block Club profile, TV appearances and more.
The hardworking mom of three is now being honored as the “Crossing Guard of Black History Month” by ABC7’s “Windy City Weekend.” She’ll appear on the show Friday morning.
Anderson is also one of several hometown heroes — including Brown Sugar Bakery owner Stephanie Hart and Loyola University’s AfroDescent Dance Team — being featured in a series of vignettes produced by the station ahead of its Black History Month special, “Our Chicago: Spirit And Perseverance.” The special will air 6 p.m. Feb. 26.
“I was in shock when [ABC7] reached out to me. At first I thought someone was playing a game because there’s a lot of scams and stuff. But they came out, interviewed me, filmed me walking the babies across the street,” Anderson said. “I’ve just been so blessed.”
Anderson, who has been a crossing guard at the magnet school since 2016, rose to local fame last year after a video of her dancing during her morning shift went viral. Commuters have changed their routes just to see her smile as they drove down State Street — and she’s impacted the lives of students, as well, often digging in her pocket to buy lunches and gifts for every Beasley Bee.
The DuSable High alumna told Block Club last year that being a helper had come naturally since her grade school years at Beethoven, where she always willing to lend an ear or a hug when needed. Her infectious energy and her faith helped pull her through several personal tragedies, including the loss of family members to gun violence, she said.
Anderson said making the walk down her “holy street” every day has been life-changing.
“When I get off my bus at 51st and State Street, once I hit that land, I’m blessed all the way though. I pray from there all the way to my post on 53rd Street. I call it my ‘holy street’ because I bless it, I receive it and the people are the witnesses,” Anderson said. “Parents will come up to me and tell me, ‘My children don’t even go to this school. We just come to see you.'”
There are other supporters, like the white cement truck driver who jumped out of his truck to tell Anderson how much he loved her for what she’s done for the community, she said. She’s been visited by police officers, surgeons — even People’s Gas workers. Every encounter touches her soul, Anderson said.
“It’s all walks of life coming to say ‘Thank you’ or ‘You made my day.’ It looks small but the spirit is large,” said Anderson.
Viewers can tune into ABC7 to see Anderson’s segment at 11:30 a.m. Friday on “Windy City Weekend,” or they can visit the show’s website to watch it online.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: