Lavar Davis has a strenuous job on a good day he gives out 50 hugs an hour.

Actually, the hugs are just his sideline. Davis, 84, has worked as a crossing guard for Payson schools for the past 22 years, first at Peteetneet School and now at Taylor School."I get to spend time outdoors and talk to kids," Davis said. "It's a great job."

His work is very educational.

"Kids tell me all about what their parents are doing," he said. "I guess I better not tell you what they say."

Davis has worked in construction and as a truck driver for the city, and has volunteered as a bus driver for senior citizen functions over the past 14 years, but he has made sure his jobs always allowed him three hours off for his daily crossing-guard duties.

As the father of five and grandfather of 17, the Payson resident knows how to handle kids.

"They like it if you make them mind. You need to treat them with respect, just like you would any person. They like you to put your arm around them and give them a love."

Davis said that formula has not changed in the past 22 years.

"Kids are about the same. I don't think they have changed much at all."

He has no plans to retire from his crossing-guard duties.

"I'll keep doing it until I get run over - and some drivers do try to run you over. I think it's the uniform."

But Davis said he's pretty good at dodging cars after 22 years of practice, so he expects to live long enough to give at least a few thousand more hugs. -