Traffic control specialist gets results with a flair

Linda Reinders takes school zone traffic control seriously, exhibits passion

ORLANDO, Fla. – Twice a day Linda Reinders takes position at the corner of Falcon Drive and Winter Park Road. The traffic control specialist is hard to miss. With a florescent vest and a big smile, she greets drivers with hand gestures of hearts, hugs, and if she thinks you're going too fast -- a stick.

"I don't like being mean but I don't want a child hit, either," Reinders said.

Reinders and crossing guard Monica Daniels consider themselves a team in front of Audubon K-8 School. The two work together to make sure everyone crosses safely.

"I'm a traffic control specialist. I control traffic," Reinders said."She (Daniels) is a crossing guard. She can only deal with the children. Between the two of us we're a power pack!"

Rabeca Rooel was among a number of parents to sing their praises. "Miss Linda is very animated," Rooel said. "She keeps the energy up in the morning and then people pay attention."

Reinders, a graduate of the Orlando Police Department's Civilian Police Academy and a Neighborhood Watch commander, said she began volunteering because she though the corner needed another set of eyes.

"I came out here the second week of last year and poor Monica was going crazy," Reinders
said. "The traffic was going every which way -- the cars and people. It was discombobulated."

Reinders pointed out that a nearby blind curve and school pickup line complicate the crossing. She encourages other schools to consider adding a volunteer traffic control specialist to other problem areas.

One parent, Misty Mills, nominated Reinders for the News 6 Getting Results Award. "She definitely brings not only safety but life to this little corner," Mills said. "It's fun to watch her. It's almost like watching someone dance. She directs the traffic, she's blowing her whistle. 

She's telling people to stop. She's telling walkers to go."

Reinders said she shows up every day because she knows what it feels like to lose a child. "In 1999 my son, who was 20 years old, died of a heart attack," Reinders said. "I don't want to see any mother have to stand over her child. If I can stop it, I will."

"I'm so happy that Miss Linda is getting this award," Mills said. "She really deserves it. She's made a difference on this street. She's made a huge difference."

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