For most third-graders in Urbana, meeting with Mayor Bill Bean is generally not a top priority. Nine-year-old Crissy Moye is not like most third-graders.
On Wednesday, Crissy’s grandparents, Fred and Chris Shelpman, surprised her with an after-school stop at the municipal building to meet with Bean in his office.
Mrs. Shelpman said her granddaughter had been asking to meet the mayor ever since she wrote to him as part of a letter writing project in Cheryl Edwards’ third grade class at South Elementary.
“I read her letter and contacted Mr. Bean to ask if he would read the letter and consider meeting with her,” Mrs. Shelpman said.
Bean agreed to meet with the girl, who was so thrilled to meet the mayor, she gave him a hug and said, “I’m happy to meet you. I’m so excited.”
After presenting her with a city of Urbana pin, Bean took a moment to answer the questions she had asked him in her letter.
She asked Bean what he enjoys most about being mayor, what his top rule is for keeping people safe, and how to handle bullies?
“My favorite part about being mayor is helping the citizens make Urbana a better place to live,” he said.
In response to keeping citizens safe and dealing with bullies, Bean said, the same answer applies to both situations.
“You shouldn’t bully at all,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, you should treat people the way you want to be treated. I think that is a good rule to go by, and I think everybody ought to think that way, even kids in school.”
After posing for a few pictures, Bean took Crissy on a tour of the fire division.
Mrs. Shelpman said she is thankful Bean took time out of his day to meet with her granddaughter.
“Crissy is good with authority, and I believe this is a great thing for her by having a positive role model to meet and show her that our city will take time for our children,” she said.
Bean said since taking office in 2012, he has received about half a dozen letters from local youths interested in learning about the role of mayor.
“It makes me feel good to know that (kids) are interested in their community and mayor,” he said. “For one reason or another, some are in awe about meeting the mayor. To them, at that age, it’s almost like meeting the president of the United States.”
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.