They have many names – lollipop man, stop-go person – but their official title is traffic guidance officer. Josh Eggins prefers to call himself Batman, pointing to his stop-slow sign, “because I’ve got a bat.”
“I call my boss Robin, but her name is Janine,” he said.
“They are all nice, happy people.”
While he pays tribute to all the Men At Work traffic crew keeping motorists safe during the construction of the new Stingray Creek Bridge, Josh is perhaps the most recognisable person with the stop-slow bat.
He is the one waving and smiling at every vehicle to drive past his post on the Laurieton side of the bridge.
As his surname suggests, Josh is a born-and-raised Camden Haven local. The grandson of newsagency owner Geoff Eggins, Josh worked at Eggins Newsagency for 13 years.
“That’s how I know everyone,” he said.
“I delivered the papers around the area and met people at the shop.”
Josh has been a traffic controller for about two years, mostly at the site of the Stingray Creek Bridge construction. He started acknowledging passing traffic with a smile and a wave because he knew many of the drivers and passengers.
“I was seeing their reactions [to smiling and waving] and I thought I would start doing it with other people. Now I do it to absolutely everyone who comes passed. It’s had a really good impact and I see a lot of bright faces every day and it makes me quite happy and enjoy my job a little bit more,” Josh said.
Not everyone is as enthusiastic as Josh in returning the greeting, but those can be his favourite customers.
“You might get 70 cars come through and one of them is a person you can see is just seething and angry. Eventually, even if it’s just one finger off the steering wheel and the corner of their mouth twitch like they might smile, that just makes my day. Generally next time they come through, they’ve given up, they’re broken and they just wave and smile too. So that’s fun.”
Josh loves the reaction from children who now look out for his trademark leather hat and get ready to greet him.
“They’re always a little bit shy to start off with but after a while their faces light up and they wave with two hands and yell out the window.”
He understands that not every drive who comes his way is having a happy day, and that motivates him to keep his simple gesture going.
“Something so simple, like doing this (waves), giving a smile and a wave costs you nothing. But it could give somebody something in their day. They might not be having the best day, they might be off to a doctor’s appointment or the kids are sick or they’re rushing or stressing about their day and I might be the only person in their day that gives them a smile and a wave and acknowledges them, that might turn their day around a little bit, I’m good with that.”