COVINA ( — When was the last time you called your mom?

You should be doing it every day, according to Covina resident Alan Phillips, whose message has been the talk of the town.

The 86-year-old traverses the city with a sign that reads: “Call your mother. She worries.”

Surprisingly, Phillips never had a mother around, so he’s making sure other people reach out to theirs.

The retired salesman first saw the sign at a Goodwill store. He said it struck a chord deep in his soul.

He strung the engraved block of wood from his walker, and he’s been turning heads ever since.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Well, I did it like that,” Phillips said while snapping his fingers. “And I knew it would be a good thing.”

Residents say his message has changed lives.

“People do see you out there and they say ‘Hi,’ and they enjoy the message,” Covina resident Marina Romero said to Phillips as she passed him on the sidewalk.

He says the inspiration behind his message is simple: “It’s where we came from. And as important as the fathers are, it’s the mothers that have that extra level of importance.”

That sentiment has garnered Phillips fans across his neighborhood. He can barely make it down the block without being on the receiving end of a wave, a honk from a passing car or someone asking to take his picture.

He says he most appreciates when people tell him they’re going to pick up the phone.

“‘I’m going to call her now’ … ‘I’ll call her later’ … ‘I want a picture of that to show my son or daughter,'” Phillips told CBS2/KCAL9’s Kaj Goldberg.

Then there are times when people tell Phillips they haven’t seen or spoken to their mother for a long time, and that worries him.

“Is it guilt? Is it because of my particular relationship with my mother?” Phillips asked.

He said he’s dedicated to spreading the message. And if that means getting a little extra attention when he walks around town, so be it: “I love it!”

So, if you take anything from Phillips’ story, it’s that you remember to call your mom.


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