With salutes for men and spirit fingers for women, Michael A. stands at attention as a security ambassador and welcomes Navy Yard employees and visitors through the Broad Street gate every morning with a big smile. We sat down with Michael to learn more about this lifelong Philadelphian and how his signature move came to be.
When did you start at The Navy Yard?
About eight years ago; I started off as a part timer at the 26th Street gate. Then a full time position opened up at the Broad Strreet gate and I applied for that.
Did you do something similar before working at The Navy Yard?
Yes, I’ve been in security for the past thirty years.
What do you love most about working for The Navy Yard security?
The people. It feels like being part of a family working here. I remember there was a time I was injured and when I came back people started asking me where I’ve been, treating me like a child. It just feels like being a part of a family.
And if a family member were to ask you: how would you describe your job in one word?[thinks for a few seconds] Awesome!
Awesome! Where’s your favorite place in The Navy Yard?
The new park.
Yes, that one. I used to run track, so when it cools down I want to get in some workouts there.
So Michael, this is the big question: when did you start doing spirit fingers and salutes every morning?
It started about two or three years ago when we still had the high school [Sustainability Workshop] down here at The Navy Yard. Kids were known for crossing wherever and whenever they wanted, so I would jump in front of cars to stop them. People started to think that I was waving at them and then the waving became spirit fingers!
And there you have it. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Michael yet, take a drive through the Broad Street gate in the morning and he’ll be sure to say hello!