A Wisconsin mother is expressing her gratitude toward a bus driver who helped her son ease into his first day of school.
Amy Johnson of Augusta, Wis., hoped to snap a social-media worthy photo of her son heading to his first day of school on Thursday as he entered his 4K year, which serves as a pre-kindergarten year for students ages four and under who did not attend preschool.
However, as Johnson’s son, Axel, had an emotional moment on the bus, she ended up capturing a photo of him holding the hand of his bus driver, Isabel Lane.
"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change,” Lane told WEAU about Axel’s first day.
Axel got on the bus with his mother’s help, but when she went to leave, he became upset.
"She had set him down in the seat and he kept trying to grab for her as she was trying to get off the bus so I just stuck my hand behind the seat,” Lane explained.
Johnson snapped a heartwarming photo of Lane holding Axel's hand as he sat behind her driver seat.
Augusta Police Department shared Johnson's photo on their Facebook, which has quickly garnered Lane praise from the community she serves.
"This is one of our wonderful bus drivers, Miss Lane, holding the hand of a scared little one on his first day of school!" the police department wrote on Facebook. "The compassion we see every day in our teachers, bus drivers, custodians, administration, food service staff, and paraprofessionals is truly admirable."
“Isabel Lane always knows exactly what students need when they need it,” Karen Clark, an employee of Augusta School District, wrote. “I’m so proud that this graduate chose to come back and work with our students.”
“Thats my kids bus driver,” one parent praised. “She is wonderful!”
As many social media users heaped praise on the school employee and shared the department's Facebook post, Lane told WEAU she was caught off guard by the attention.
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal, personally... I guess it's just something that I would do,” Lane said.
“Isabel is a bus driver and also serves as a special education aide in our school district,” Ryan Nelson, district administrator of Augusta Area School District, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “The exceptional thing about Isabel is that while this picture has gotten a great deal of attention, this is the type of person she is every day with everyone she comes in contact with.”
“She is someone that truly cares about everyone around her, regardless of how young or old they may be. Whether it is on the bus or inside of the school, she truly brightens the day of those around her, with her smile, her compassion, and her kindness. There is a reason children and adults alike enjoy being around her and this is a great illustration of that,” Nelson continued. “Isabel is a wonderful ambassador for our school district and is also representative of the type of great employees we believe we have in our school district.”
Lane's kindness may just have helped Axel adjust to his new school.
"The day after [his first day] he was waiting at the bus stop all by himself, he got on all smiles and [was] talking to me the whole time, so he is doing much better now,” Lane told WEAU. "I think it kind of goes for anyone, if you see someone maybe struggling just to do something as simple as reaching out a hand and showing that you are there... You don't have to say anything but just to show someone you are there makes a big difference in someone's day."
Lane also shared the photo on Facebook, writing, “So blessed I get to wake up every morning and make a difference! LOVE my job!”
While Lane did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment, Nelson told Yahoo: “As a district, we have focused a great deal of training with all of our staff on supporting students' social-emotional needs and mental well-being. We are a small rural school district in Wisconsin that employs approximately 110 staff members. While we have focused a great deal of training and development on supporting students' needs, we also feel our staff members are adults that simply care a great deal about the well-being of our students and want to ensure they have a positive connection with as many people as possible at school.”
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