The frigid weather and chilly winds made Derek shiver as he opened the bus door, and a swarm of cute little kids in warm clothes climbed onto the bus.
“Come in quick, kids! The weather is killing me! Grrr…” he shuddered, and the youngsters laughed.
“You are so dumb, Derek!” chirped a girl as she entered. “Ask your mommy to buy you a new scarf!”
“Oh honey, I wish my mom was alive. She’d buy me a prettier scarf than the one you have! I’m so jealous!” he said with a pout, making the girl smile.
“Mommy gets me the best scarves!” she said. “I’ll tell him to get one for you!”
That was Derek. A sweet, plump man who always had a big smile on his face when he was driving the school bus. The warm laughter and giggles of the children brightened his day, and he loved his job, despite the not-so-great salary, which often started arguments between him and his wife.
“It pays you a penny! Do you realize that? We can’t afford to pay the mortgage if you stick to that job with this inflation,” he yelled.
“Honey,” I would reply politely. “You know how much I love what I do. I’ll work hard and everything will work out for us, I promise!”
But when Derek was alone on his bus after dropping off the kids, he was sad, thinking about his problems and contemplating solutions. He was a good man, but kindness doesn’t pay the bills. does it?
Due to the thick ice on the road that day, Derek drove his bus slowly and carefully. He didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of the road on the ice.
When they got to the school, he told the children to be careful going downstairs. “Don’t slip or hurt yourself on the ice, boys! Watch out, Milly!”
As the little boys got off the bus, David decided to order a nice hot cup of coffee from the cafeteria on the other side of the school. “Coffee would be the best antidote for cold weather!” he thought excitedly.
But when he was about to go down, he heard a soft sob and stopped. That’s when he peeked into the last seat on his bus and realized a boy was still there.
“Hey, kid,” he yelled at the boy. “Aren’t you going to class today?”
Derek noticed the boy hide his hands behind him. “What are you hiding there, friend?” I ask. “Is something bothering you? You can tell me what it is. I’ll help you!”
“It’s…it’s just so cold out there,” the boy finally said. “I’m just cold…”
With that, the boy showed his hands to Derek, which terrified him. The little boy’s hands were frozen and had turned blue from the cold.
Derek quickly removed his gloves and made the boy put them on. “Look, I know they’re too big for you, buddy, but they’ll keep you warm. Lost your gloves?”
The boy shook his head. “Mommy and daddy said they just…don’t have any money. They promised to buy new ones next month. My old ones are broken.”
The boy wiped away his tears, thanked Derek, and went to his class. She had no idea that Derek had lied to her about having a friend at the clothing store.
Derek didn’t get his coffee that day. Instead, she walked to a nearby store and spent her last dollar on a pair of gloves and a scarf for the boy. He was expecting his paycheck in a few days anyway, so he didn’t think it would be a problem.
And that day, before the boy got off the bus, Derek gave him the gloves and the scarf.
“These will keep you warm,” he said. “Don’t bother your parents with that, okay?”
Derek’s eyes filled with tears as the boy hugged him before leaving the bus. He didn’t know that this kindness would find its way back to him.
Mr. Butler smiled. “Please have a seat, Derek. We need to talk.”
Derek’s heart skipped a beat. She thought she was in trouble, but when Mr. Butler started to speak, her eyes filled with tears of happiness.
“I didn’t need to do this, sir. My God, thank you so much!”
“You earned it, Derek!” exclaimed Mr. Butler. “We felt compelled to do this after learning about his helping Aiden and his family. His father is a firefighter who was badly injured, which they are currently fighting for. You did a wonderful thing helping him. It means a lot to the little boy and his family. And about that box…”
Derek had left a box inside the school campus, right by the front gate, two days before. It was littered with gloves and scarves, with a sign next to it that read, “If you’re cold, buy yourself something from here. I’d appreciate it. Derek, the school bus driver.”
The night after helping Aiden, Derek couldn’t sleep well, thinking of the other kids who might be in the same position as Aiden. So she bought more scarves and gloves after receiving her salary, filled a box with the purchases, and left it on the school campus.
The school principal and several parents appreciated what he did, and Derek was congratulated in front of the entire school. Soon, his salary also increased. But that’s not where it all ended.
The school started a fund to help children from economically challenged backgrounds. Miraculously, a pair of gloves, a scarf and the good heart of a bus driver made the wonderful initiative possible.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a trucker who helped an unconscious woman in the middle of the road, not knowing that she would do something to change his and his wife’s lives.
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