A hero without a cape: Moncton man gives back to community he loves
'He is an exceptional, loving human being with a heart of gold, and he's always so happy and positive'
By day, he's a crossing guard in Moncton's downtown.
But by night, Albert Elliott puts away his hand-held stop sign to serve hot and cold beverages to the city's homeless and others in need of a bit of help.
"I love helping them out a lot," says Elliott.
Charlie Burrell is president and founder of the Humanity Project, the organization where Elliott volunteers as often as seven days a week.
He says Elliott is as pleasant to work with as he is helpful.
"He is an exceptional, loving human being with a heart of gold, and he's always so happy and positive," Burrell says.
Elliott, 60, started volunteering three years ago. He spends hours at the shelter and soup kitchen most days helping in whatever way he can.
He even has his own permanent kiosk in the dining hall, with a sign that reads, "Albert's Coffee Corner."
He gives out juice, pop and snacks at supper, then helps volunteers turn the dining hall that regularly feeds 100-150 a night into a shelter where, on average, 40-60 sleep each evening.
To celebrate Elliott's contributions to others in the city, Burrell posted a tribute on the group's Facebook page featuring a picture of him at his station coffee station. It reads: 'Not all superheroes wear capes … sometimes they wear fluorescent reflective clothing!'
When he's not volunteering, Elliott keeps busy at his day job, helping school children get safely to and from Edith Cavell Elementary School.
"I'm a crossing guard, I look after the kids. I keep the kids safe, make sure they get home safe and make sure there's no kids missing."
He says there have been a couple of close calls with cars, but he loves his job.
The reaction that he gets from people crossing the street shows they share Burrell's affection for Elliott.
Monique Gulliver and her daughter, Sera, said they've gotten to know Elliott over time and appreciate that he's always there to help.
"We love him. He puts a smile on our face every day. He's a great guy, very enthusiastic … and a big Wildcats fan," says Monique Gulliver. "He's a hard worker and he does a good job.'
"He's funny," added Sera.
Asked why, after working five days a week, he still spends hours volunteering, Albert replies: "Something to do, keeps me … occupied."
Burrell says if anyone else is considering helping at the Humanity Project, they should get in touch.
He adds it's a chance for people to help, but they may also get something in return.
"It's important for people to come out and see what's going on in your community. Not only that, it'll break some of the stereotypes.
"A lot of the volunteers that come here, they come back time and time again because it's a good experience."