Enjoyment can be hazardous to a local government’s financial health:
Littlestown crossing guard ordered to cease wearing silly hats on job

For 15 years, Littlestown crossing guard Larry Douthwaite has been known for the “silly” hats he wears on the job.

From a Santa hat to a cheesehead and a pharaoh’s crown to a Nittany Lion, Douthwaite’s fun hat selections have put smiles on people’s faces as they pass his intersection at North Queen and East Myrtle streets in Littlestown on weekday mornings.

Known as the “Hat Man,” Douthwaite said he has over 103 unique and fun hats.

One week ago, Douthwaite was informed that only one hat would be acceptable anymore effective immediately — a borough-issued black and white crossing guard hat.

Douthwaite was contacted by Littlestown Police Chief Donald Baker who read a memo from Borough Manager Linda M. Hess. The memo stated that Hess was concerned about drivers being distracted by Douthwaite’s often-ostentatious headgear.

It’s all about the liability:

Hess said she felt it was a safety issue as she witnessed a driver swerve near Douthwaite’s intersection. She said she saw the possibility of an accident being caused by passing motorists looking at the guard’s hat.

“I understand if everyone doesn’t see the safety of it and that it is a ‘flavor of Littlestown,’” Hess said. “I’m doing my job by trying to protect the borough.”

Hess said if an accident were to happen at the pastor’s post because of the hats, the borough, that Douthwaite is employed by, would be liable.

It’s all about personal responsibility:

However, the 15-year crossing guard veteran saw it differently.

“In all my years of wearing the hats and being a crossing guard, there hasn’t been an accident at my intersection,” Douthwaite said. “If anything, there’s a value to wearing the hats. People notice you more.”

Douthwaite also said there are more things than hats that people could be distracted by when driving through the borough.

He felt the driver would be responsible if they let themselves get distracted.

Mr. Douthwaite was on Fox Cable’s Fox and Friends this morning and said that there has been a tremendous outpouring of local support for him and has hopes that this  decision will be changed.

Thank you, trial lawyers, perpetual victims, and nanny statists, for draining the last drops of joy and spontaneity out of life.  Whatever happened to “no harm, no foul?”

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