Benjamin Bruce was raising his daughter Emily alone. His wife died when their girl just turned six.
Since then Ben gave all his love to Emily, for she was the only thing left in his life. He made a promise that he would do anything for his daughter. So he put all his energy into successfully combining both his work and Emily’s upbringing. There were no relatives who could help him with the girl, or whom he would trust enough, so he was the only person in charge.
It was a difficult role of a single parent for Bruce, and just as he began to get used to this “roller coaster”, Emily entered the period of puberty. And these changes were an even bigger challenge for Ben. he saw how his little girl was transforming into a young lady, and he realized that it wouldn’t be long before she start dating boys. It could not have been otherwise, for Emily was the owner of a mop of red hair she had inherited from her mother, and deep green eyes that were simply enchanting.
Even Ben himself could not resist Emily’s gaze, and repeatedly fell under his daughter’s influence. At the age of 12, Emily first showed an interest in boys. She began to pay more and more attention to her hair and appearance in general, as she wanted to be attractive in the eyes of her high school buddy. Ben could have come to his daughter’s defense at any time in front of anyone, but he was totally unprepared for the task of taking care of Emily’s appearance.
Emily had to deal with it on her own, but it was hard for her, because she had never had an example of how to take care of herself. When Emily was little, Ben just cut her hair short because he didn’t understand anything about hair care. But when Emily got older, he had to relent and leave his daughter her long locks. Trying to do something to help Emily, Ben grabbed a comb and tried to brush her hair, which was getting longer and longer. Ben is a big man, and even when he was doing his best to be gentle and tidy, he could still unwittingly pull her hair.
“Ow!” the girl suddenly cried out.
“Sorry, baby,” Ben apologized to his daughter.
“Try to be gentle, Daddy,” Emily admonished him.
But she usually tolerated in silence and didn’t complain, because she didn’t want Ben to worry about hurting her. And Ben was embarrassed every time that his girl had to endure the discomfort of combing, so he repeatedly suggested that she get a haircut.
“Let’s cut the hair off, and everything will be all right,” he repeated to his daughter when an argument arose between them. “Your mother always had a short haircut, but she was still very pretty.”
“No, Daddy, I won’t cut my hair anymore. It takes a long time to grow because you kept cutting it off when I was a kid,” Emily answered. Each such argument ended not in Ben’s favor, but he didn’t worry about it, because after a while the subject didn’t come up again.
Soon he noticed that Emily’s homeroom teacher, Mrs. Flynn, was sending more and more notices that she was late for class. Ben decided to find out what was wrong and called the teacher.
“This is true, Mr. Bruce. Emily has received five notices this week for being late for class. Maybe there’s something I don’t know?” inquired Mrs. Flynn.
“No. We’re doing just fine. I send Emily to the bus early so I know for sure she won’t be late for school and get to class on time,” Ben replied.
“Have you noticed anything unusual about Emily this week?” he questioned the teacher.
“Yes. One day I was late for class and I noticed that Emily was just getting off the bus, even though she was supposed to be at school at that time. Surely the bus driver must know something about that, because no one but them is allowed to be on the school bus at that time.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Flynn, I’ll look into it,” Ben said.
He was very concerned that his daughter was spending more time on the school bus than she was supposed to. So the next day he began spying on Emily. Mrs. Flynn’s words were confirmed all the students got off the bus as soon as it stopped in the schoolyard. All except Emily. Seizing an opportune moment, Ben rushed into the bus, fearing to see something frightening there.
But suddenly he saw a lovely forty-year-old woman brushing Emily’s hair. This woman turned out to be Madeline, the school bus driver.
“Mr. Bruce?” the woman said in surprise as Emily saw her father standing in the doorway of the bus.
“Dad? Where did you come from?”
“Hello, ma’am!”, Ben coughed and straightened up at the sight of Madeline. “I apologize for the intrusion, but I found out that Emily has been late for class for several days. So I thought I’d find out why.”
“And the reason is this,” Madeline replied and pointed to Emily’s hair. “I noticed that Emily couldn’t handle her hair and then I decided to help her. I started brushing her locks every morning before class started, since Emily admitted that she was worried about her untidy hair.
“Honey,” Ben looked at his daughter. “But you didn’t say anything to me about it.”
“I didn’t want to bother you,” Emily tried to defend herself.
Then Ben decided to invite Madeline over for a cup of coffee. Over the course of the conversation, he told Madeline about what had happened to Emily’s mother. The woman could not stand it and cried.
The fact is that she herself had gone through a difficult ordeal, Madeline managed to recover from cancer. And so she thanked life for the opportunity to stay close to her children.
Madeline was sure she stayed alive for the sake of the children she drove every day on the bus. After all, they needed someone to share their thoughts with, or someone to brush their hair or whatever, and because of this she began to beg Ben to solve the problem in the best way possible.
Ben went to Mrs. Flynn, explained the situation to her, and from that time on Emily never got a tardy notice. Ben was very grateful for Madeline’s help and remained friends with her over the years.