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Family of Kansas crossing guard who died saving kids remembers him as man who did 'the right thing'

Posted at 6:10 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 08:10:36-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of Bob Nill, the crossing guard killed in a crash in Kansas City, Kansas, Tuesday morning, said he "cared an awful lot for the community."

Nill died following a crash in a crosswalk on Leavenworth Road next to Christ the King Elementary School. Moments before the wreck, he stopped two young boys from entering the crosswalk, saving their lives.

Bart Nill, the middle of Bob Nill's three sons, said his father wouldn't like all the praise he has received for his actions from hundreds of people across the Kansas City area.

"I am thrilled that they all get to see what his heart was like, but I'll also say, if he would've survived the wreck, he wouldn't be happy at all with all the accolades." Bart Nill said. "Dad was the kind that really instilled, at least in us as boys and, I think, in those around him — you do the right thing. When we do the right thing, we probably don't need to be patted on the back, because that's kind of what we're supposed to do. I think that's what he would say right now."

Bart Nill said his father became a crossing guard only about a year after he retired. Bob Nill's wife had died, and the new job gave him some structure amid his grief.

The kids brought him joy, Bart Nill said.

"He just loved being able to spend time with kids," his son said.

Some of those kids, Bart Nill said, would visit his father years later and "tell him how much they appreciated all that they did for him."

As for his father's legacy, Bart Nill said it's simple.

"There's a right way to do things, and there's a wrong way to do things," he said. "If we do it the right way — sometimes it may cost you. At least to me, the legacy is just continue to do that right thing, and blessings will come through that process."

The two boys Bob Nill saved went home after the incident on Tuesday, too shaken to attend school.

"I think it would be interesting as well, years from now, to find out what happens with these two boys," Bart Nill said. "I just have a feeling that the Lord has some kind of plan for their life."

Visitation and funeral services have been set for Bob Nill. The services will be open to the public.

Police said Wednesday that they have yet to determine the cause of the crash. They are also looking into whether or not the driver could face charges.

This story was originally published by Andres Gutierrez and Hailey Godburn on KSHB in Kansas City.