Spreading happiness is welcomed in any corner of the country, but especially in Newtown, Connecticut, where residents still cope with the traumatic Sandy Hook shootings of 2012.
Kathy Holick is a lifelong resident of Sandy Hook. As a traffic guard, the woman known affectionately as Kat helps protect kids and direct cars in front of Newtown High School. But in addition to keeping safety and order, the 47-year-old grandmother is known to break out a dance move or three while on the job.
"We've had our tragedy but that is not why I'm here," Holick told the Courant. "I'm doing this because this is who I am. I've always been a goofball. Nothing any different."
And so Kat stands in the middle of Berkshire Road, directing traffic while grooving along to tunes. She said she added dancing to her repertoire because "it brought more laughter and smiles to people's faces."
"I will dance to just about any kind of music there is," she said. "Big band is one of my favorites because you actually get a little hip action."
Holick is a local celebrity in the New England town. Passers-by sometimes drive out of their way just to see the traffic guard. They bring her flowers, water, and treats. Kids approach her and ask her to sign their yearbooks.
"All I do is try to make people happy," Holick said through tears in a video on The Courant's website. "I wasn't expecting the gifts … I receive gifts of gratitude for what I do. And I'm just being me."
The happiness may start in the street, but it does not end there. Holick also spreads joy online, posting funny quotes and photos on Facebook. Today is the last day of school at Newtown High, and the traffic agent wanted to leave the kids with a few words before summer break.
"It has been fun to brighten your day and as your hearts grew towards me, you brightened mine," she wrote. "It's ok to be silly and to laugh, just do it in a positive, loving way."