Bus driver pulls ‘mom duty’ for young girl

Apr 4, 2018, 12:57 PM

I cried on air today.

This wasn’t unusual for me given my preference to read heart-string-plucking news stories. I actually choose my Daily Dose of Kindness story based on if it makes me tear up at my desk. This mean I’ve usually dried my eyes by 7:30 a.m. when I dive into the DDOK, but not today!

Dori Monson’s producer, Nicole, sent me today’s feel-good story and she prefaced it with the fact that it gave her chills. She’s an ace producer so I trusted her instinct on this story. As I watched it I got chills, too, but also an overwhelming urge to cry. So I did.

The story is about 11-year-old Isabella in Salt Lake City, Utah. She gets ready for school on her own every morning because her dad works early mornings and, well, her mom passed away when she was young after battling a rare disease. Her dad has tried his best to make her self-sufficient.

However, as KSL TV reports, there’s one thing that’s difficult for most a dads: hair. And he admitted that when she was young he’d just give her a crew cut and call it good. Obviously, a crew cut wouldn’t… [shifty eyes]… cut it as Isabella got older. She says she mostly just brushes her hair or puts it in a ponytail and calls it good. Then, a few months ago, someone came into her life that changed everything. It was her school bus driver Tracy Dean.

“You treat them like your own kids, you know?” Tracy said.

And one day Isabella noticed as she was getting off the bus that Tracy was doing the hair of one of her classmates. She worked up the courage to ask Tracy if she could braid her hair, too. And of course, she said “yes.”

Now, Tracy styles each girl’s hair almost every day.

Tracy revealed to KSL that she could relate to these little girls because she was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago. One of the questions she had, as she went through treatment, is ‘if this doesn’t work out who will take care of my kids?’ So, she’s doing for Isabella and the other girl what she’d hope someone would do for her kids.

Isabella’s dad is thankful and her teachers have noticed that Isabella’s confidence has been boosted by this act of kindness.

“Makes me feel like she’s a mom pretty much to me,” Isabella said.

If you have a Daily Dose of Kindness to share with Colleen, email her at

You can hear Colleen O’Brien’s “Daily Dose of Kindness” segment every morning at 7:30 a.m. on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

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Bus driver pulls ‘mom duty’ for young girl