Health and safety guidelines in the workplace seem to become more of a factor every day, with the correct application of their often well-meaning intentions ensuring that people remain safe while in the course of doing their jobs. On occasions though, the bureaucracy associated with them can seem to get a little out of hand. Such seems to have been the case in a recent example in Scotland, where a jovial lollipop man has been banned from "high-fiving" the #Children, while in the course of carrying out his duties by the local council in Dumbarton.
Prior to the guidance from the council, 74-year-old Nkosana Mdikane used to not only "high-five" the kids, but also dance and sing, becoming a bit of a local celebrity as a result. Some local drivers even made slight detours in order to take in his performances. Mr Mdikane was previously referred to as the happiest lollipop man in Scotland when he started the job in 2013, even receiving praise at the time from the council for the #Work he did.
His earlier life was spent in South Africa, but he moved to Scotland in 2003. Prior to his current enjoyable role, he held down other jobs as a delivery driver and a chauffeur, so he is used to interacting with road vehicles and their drivers. Now retired from a full-time working role, he told the Daily Telegraph that his relatively new role spared him some of the "frustration and loneliness" associated with his life. Clearly unhappy at the apparent rebuke he received, he added that he saw no issue with what he had been doing: "I never saw any problem in it….this is very emotional and affecting me."
In their defence, West Dumbartonshire Council issued a statement: "All patrollers are instructed when crossing children over a road to remain static with one hand on their stick and the other stretched outwards." Such a stance is intended to ensure that vehicles can see the patroller and "effectively provides a barrier between school pupils and traffic."The local people have responded in support of Mr Mdikane, with a Facebook campaign being initiated by David Dufton, a father who knows of the lollipop man's abilities and character. He is hoping to get the council to reverse their orders, with "save the high fives" already attracting thousands of 'likes' and a change.org petition being similarly well-supported in terms of signatures. Mr Dufton believes that the local children all seek out Mr Mdikane to cross the road where he is and as such he is keeping them safe. He told BBC Scotland that the friendly lollipop man "always puts a smile on people's faces."