North·Video

Video of teen goes viral after he gets groovy on the job controlling N.W.T. traffic

Two Yellowknifers came across a traffic control worker dancing and swinging his stop sign amid a swarm of northern bugs and decided to post it to social media.

Daniel Odgers-Stedman from Victoria said he just wants to put a smile on people's faces

Daniel Odgers-Stedman from Victoria got a little groovy on the job near Hay River, N.W.T. 0:54

Two Yellowknifers say they were grooving to music while heading home from a camping trip when they had an encounter they'll never forget.

"We took our 'Haycation,'" said Iona Strachan, referring to their first holiday in about a year, in the small N.W.T. community of Hay River. "We were dancing in the car ... and as we pulled up, we saw Daniel dancing."

She is referring to 17-year-old Daniel Odgers-Stedman from Victoria, B.C., a traffic control worker who was dancing his heart out at a construction stop on the Mackenzie Highway.

"We kind of waved and we were all dancing together for about 20 minutes," said Monique Hurley.

The encounter is captured in a minute-long video posted to social media, where Strachan and Hurley have a hoot, laughing at Odgers-Stedman as he swings his stop sign amid a swarm of northern bugs.

"Like, how could he be so happy with all of the mosquitoes that are out there?" says one of them in the video, as they cackle, howl and clap.

Making one or two people smile is still better than none right?- Daniel Odgers-Stedman, Arrowsmith Road Maintenance worker

"He was breaking it down. It was awesome," said Strachan. "We should have put on our bug suits in the back and gotten out."

She said the pair danced and watched their front-row show for about half an hour at the construction stop.

Iona Strachan, left, and Monique Hurley were on their first vacation in a year when they came across a dancing traffic control worker in N.W.T. (Submitted by Iona Strachan)

"I didn't realize how long the stop was until after we left. He just absolutely made our day," Strachan said.

'Making ... people smile'

Odgers-Stedman started his gig as a traffic control worker with B.C.-based Arrowsmith Road Maintenance this summer. 

Daniel Odgers-Stedman, who is from Victoria, B.C., said he just wants to put a smile on people's faces. (Submitted by Daniel Odgers-Stedman)

He said this wasn't the first time he busted a move on the job — he tested out his routine in Castlegar, B.C.

"It wasn't even dancing. It was really just weird hand signals to get people laughing outside. And it turned into dancing and everyone just started dying over it," he said.

"Coming up to the Northwest [Territories] ... I was like, you know, making one or two people smile is still better than none, right?" 

Odgers-Stedman said his work consists of standing for 12 to 16 hours a day, holding a stop sign and guiding traffic. 

"It seems like the simplest job in the world," he said, but added that it comes with mental and physical challenges. "I found that with the dancing, it helped the time go by a lot quicker."

And the cherry on top? "The bugs are pretty brutal, but if you keep moving ... it'll keep the bugs off ya."

3 million views on Facebook.

The video of Odgers-Stedman shared on CBC North's Facebook page got more than three million views, 21,000 likes and 2,100 comments. People expressed their joy in the comments section:

After watching himself in the viral video, Odgers-Stedman said he, too, was laughing. "I honestly thought it was hilarious. It just made my day," he said.

"It just felt really special," said Hurley, about sharing their joy with the rest of the world. "We're really happy Daniel's been recognized."

Hurley said she and Strachan are positive people and so they felt an immediate connection when they saw someone else dancing. 

"It feels really good, especially during COVID[-19] times, when connection has been an issue with a lot of people ... even though it was at a safe distance, we still were able to dance together and to enjoy that positive moment."

With files from an interview by Juanita Taylor

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