Rosetta Puckett retires after 45 years as a crossing guard in North Nashville

Rosetta Puckett retires
Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 23:54:41-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — School may be out for the weekend, but the traffic was still pouring into Robert Lillard Elementary School in North Nashville. There was about to be a retirement party for Rosetta Puckett - who has served as a crossing guard at the school for 45 years.

"When I tell people my mom’s still out there -- they’re like what? She’s still out there?" said Stacey Puckett Walker, one of Rosetta's daughters.

For some of her kids, school and biological, they wouldn't miss this moment for the world. "She’s going to be so excited, especially seeing her son she hasn’t seen in so long," said Stacey.

Her son Rudine Puckett flew in all the way from Seattle. "It took me all night to fly here so I could be here," said Rudine.

The best part? The woman of honor doesn't have a clue what's coming. The large crowd cheered as Rosetta's car pulled up to the front of the school. As she stepped out, for once, the woman used to giving directions doesn't know who to hug first.

That is -- until Rudine stepped up. Rosetta let out a scream of joy and the two embraced for nearly a minute. The tears just kept flowing from that point on.

One by one, politicians and dignitaries took turns on the microphone, showering Rosetta with praise. "The dedication and the love and the caring you put in to your job -- you just don’t see that every day," said Rep. Vincent Dixie, (D-District 54).

"We declare this Rosetta Puckett Day -- signed John Cooper our Mayor," said Brenda Haywood, Deputy Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville.

"Life wasn’t easy for us. When I started working that job, I got it at that time because I needed it, we needed it, and it helped us out a lot," said Rosetta Puckett.

Gradually over the years, Rosetta and her husband became financially stable enough where she could have quit her job. She wouldn't hear of it. "I like helping people, I like people, I’m a people person," said Rosetta.

Plus, the hours were flexible enough where the generations of kids she crossed, didn't interfere with raising her own. "I was able to go to the PTA meeting, things he couldn’t go to because he worked. I was able to do it and I was able to whip butts," she said.

The discipline part, Rudine knows first hand. "We have an officer here -- I need to report my mother," Rudine said to the crowd as they laughed. "You did that because you loved us."

Because they love her, the steady stream of people congratulating Rosetta wont be slowing down anytime soon. "I thank God for them, I thank God they was here. I thank God that I lived to see this day," said Rosetta.

Monday April 5th will be Rosetta's last official day on the job.