The frigid weather and cold winds made David shiver as he opened the bus door, and a swarm of cute little kids in warm clothes climbed into the vehicle.
“Get in quick, kids, the weather is killing me! Grrr…,” he said shuddering, and the little kids giggled.
“You’re such a dope, David!” a little girl chirped as she walked in. “Ask your mommy to buy you a new scarf!”.
“Oh, honey, I wish my mommy was alive, she’d buy me a nicer scarf than the one you have! I’m so jealous!” he pouted, making the little girl smile.
“My mommy buys me the best scarves!” she said. “I’ll tell her to buy you one!”.
“Oh, no, no, no, honey, I was just kidding! Hop in, hop in. I have to drive carefully today.”
That was David. A sweet, chubby man who always had a big smile on his face when he drove the school bus. The warm laughter of the children brightened his day, and he loved his job, despite the not-so-good pay, which often started arguments between him and his wife.
“They pay you a pittance! Do you realize that? We can’t afford to pay the mortgage if you stick to that job with this inflation,” she used to shout.
“Honey,” he 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 David was alone on his bus after dropping off the kids, he was often sad, thinking about his problems and contemplating solutions. He was a good man, but goodness didn’t pay the bills.
Because of the thick ice on the road that day, David drove his bus slowly and carefully. He didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of the road on the ice.
When they arrived at the school, he told the children to be careful getting off.
“Don’t slip or hurt yourselves on the ice, kids! Watch out, Milly!”.
When the young children got off the bus, the driver 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 the cold weather!” he thought excitedly.
But just as he was about to get off the bus, he heard a soft sobbing sound and stopped. That’s when he peeked into the last seat and realized that a boy was still there.
“Hey, kid,” he said to the boy. “Aren’t you going to class today?”.
The boy sobbed and shook his head.
“What’s the matter, kid, are you okay?” he asked, moving closer to him.
David noticed that the boy was hiding his hands behind him.
“What are you hiding there, little buddy?” he asked.
“Is something bothering you? You can tell me what it is. I’ll help you!”.
“It’s… it’s just that it’s so cold out there,” the boy finally said. “I’m just cold…”.
With that, the boy showed David his hands, and the man became concerned. The little boy’s hands were icy cold and had turned blue from the cold.
The bus driver quickly took off his gloves and had the boy put them on.
“Look, I know they’re too big for you, little buddy, but they’ll keep you warm, did you lose 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 gloves are torn.”
David felt terrible for the child.
“Ah, that’s not a problem, little boy,” he said. “I have a friend at the clothing store, and he makes the best gloves! I’ll buy you a pair after school, okay? Now, come on, you’re going to be late for class.”
The boy wiped away his tears, thanked David and left for his class. He had no idea that the man had lied to him about having a friend at the clothing store.
David didn’t buy his coffee that day. Instead, he walked to a nearby store and spent his 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 figured it wouldn’t be a problem.
And that day, before the boy left the bus, David gave him the gloves and scarf.
“These will keep you warm,” he said. “Don’t bother your parents with it, okay?”.
The driver’s eyes filled with tears as the boy hugged him before exiting the bus. Little did he know that this kindness would find its way back to him.
A few days later, David was unexpectedly called into the principal’s office.
“You called me in for a meeting, Mr. Bastidas?” he asked, knocking on the principal’s door.
Mr. Bastidas smiled.
“Please have a seat. We need to talk.”
David’s heart skipped a beat. He thought he was in trouble, but when Mr. Bastidas began to speak, his eyes filled with happy tears.
“I didn’t need to do this, sir – my goodness, thank you so much!”.
“You earned it!” the director exclaimed. “We felt compelled to do this after learning of your help for Alvaro and his family.”
“His father is a firefighter who was seriously injured, so they are currently struggling financially. You did a wonderful thing by helping him. It means a lot to the little boy and his family. And about that box…”.
David had left a box inside the school campus, right next to the front gate, two days earlier. It was full of gloves and scarves, with a sign next to it that read:
“If you feel cold, take something from here. I’d appreciate it. David, the school bus driver.”
The night after helping Alvaro, the driver couldn’t sleep well, thinking of the other children who might be in the same situation. So he bought more scarves and gloves after receiving his salary, filled a box with the purchases and left it on the school campus.
The headmaster and several parents appreciated what he did, and David was congratulated in front of the entire school. Soon, his salary increased as well. But it didn’t end there.
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.