Philadelphia resident Elias Kostans has been a crossing guard in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania for 25 years.
Even at age 87, he still rides his bicycle back and forth to work, where he assumes his established post. There he greets police, bus drivers, students and passers-by with a series of waves, thumbs up, signature salutes — or a big smile.
Always friendly and upbeat, the Greek immigrant has become a fixture at the intersection of Walnut Street and Long Lane, where locals have come to known him affectionately as “Louie” and expect his presence — every day.
“I always go early and always stay late,” Elias says.
When someone needs a hand — whether crossing the street or carrying groceries — “Louie” is quick to help, and locals have commended his goodwill to students and people crossing his path every day.
“I wish I had a hundred Louie’s,” said former police officer and Upper Darby Safe Street Coordinator Thomas Nee. “I’d be very happy.”
Some neighbors say he is the bright spot that inspires them to go on with their day. One of them called him the local “angel on the corner.”
Elias’ son, Eleftherios, wanted to pay tribute to his father’s life and work — and thus decided to create a short film. But he said he never expected it to be more than a family project.
“It started out as a little family film for the archives, which I shot on my iPhone,” he said. “But then it led to a discussion from family and friends to share it online as a feature story.”
Eleftherios said the project has led him to begin working on a short series about Greek Americans and their history in the Philadelphia community.
He said the film about his father is a “tribute to the human spirit and character we should all emulate to live by each day.”
See the film
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