Derek shuddered as he opened the bus door, trying to brace himself against the icy winds and freezing weather. As soon as he opened the door, a group of adorable children in warm clothing swarmed the bus, eager to escape the cold.
“Quick, kids! Get in! This weather is unbearable!” Derek shivered, eliciting laughter from the kids.
One little girl, bundled up in a cozy scarf, chirped, “You’re so funny, Derek!”
Derek playfully pouted, “I wish my mother was still alive. She would have gotten me a nicer scarf than yours! I’m so envious.”
The little girl’s eyes lit up as she exclaimed, “My mommy gets me the best scarves! I’ll tell her to get one for you too!”
Derek chuckled, “No, no, sweetie. I was just kidding. Come on, let’s get going. I need to drive carefully today.”
Derek was known for his jovial nature and infectious smile while driving the school bus. He loved to hear the children’s warm laughter and silly giggles, which made his day. Despite the fact that he wasn’t making a substantial salary, he cherished his job.
However, his wife often expressed her concerns about the salary. “This job pays you next to nothing! Can’t you see that? With this inflation, we’ll never be able to pay off the mortgage if you keep working here,” she would say.
Derek would always respond politely, “My love, you know how much I love what I do. I’ll work hard, and everything will work out for us, I promise.”
However, after dropping off the kids and being alone on his bus, Derek would often feel sad and contemplate his financial problems. Despite his kind nature, he realized that being a good person doesn’t always pay the bills.
Derek navigated his bus cautiously and slowly due to the icy road conditions that day. He didn’t want to find himself stranded on the treacherous surface. When they arrived at school, he warned the children to be cautious as they stepped off the bus. “Take it slow, kids! Don’t slip on the ice, okay? Watch your step, Milly!”
As the young students got off the bus, Derek considered grabbing a hot coffee from the nearby café to combat the chill in the air. “A warm cup of coffee would be just the thing to warm me up,” he thought with excitement.
However, just as he was about to leave the bus, he heard a soft sob and paused. Turning his attention to the last seat on the bus, he saw a young boy still seated and crying.
“Hey, buddy,” Derek called out. “Why aren’t you going to class today?”
The boy sniffled and shook his head, clearly upset.
“What’s wrong?” Derek asked, moving closer to him. “Are you okay?”
Derek noticed that the boy was concealing his hands behind his back. “What’s going on there, my friend?” he inquired. “Is something bothering you? You can confide in me. I’m here to help!”
“It’s just…it’s so chilly outside,” the boy finally replied. “I’m just so cold…”
The boy then revealed his hands to Derek, which horrified him. The child’s hands were icy and had turned blue from the cold weather.
Acting quickly, Derek removed his gloves and put them on the boy. “I know they’re too big for you, but they’ll keep you warm. Did you misplace your gloves?” he said.
The boy shook his head. “Mommy and daddy said they don’t have enough money to buy new ones. They promised to get me some next month. My old ones got torn.”
Derek felt terrible for the boy’s situation. “No worries, kid,” he reassured him. “I have a pal who works at a clothing store and he makes the best gloves. I’ll get you one after school, okay? Now, let’s go, you don’t want to be late for class…”
The boy wiped his tears, thanked Derek, and headed off to his class. Little did he know that Derek had fabricated the story about having a friend at the clothing store.
That day Derek went without his usual cup of coffee and instead decided to purchase a pair of gloves and a scarf for a young boy. He wasn’t worried about the expense since he knew his paycheck was due in a few days.
As the boy was about to step off the bus, Derek surprised him by handing him the gloves and scarf, saying “These will keep you warm. Don’t worry your parents about it, okay?” The boy hugged Derek and left the bus, bringing a tear to Derek’s eye. Little did he know that his act of kindness would come full circle.
A few days later, Derek was called to the principal’s office and was initially worried that he was in trouble. However, when he entered the office and saw Mr. Butler’s grin, his heart filled with joy.
“Please take a seat, Derek. We need to talk,” Mr. Butler said.
Derek was moved to tears when he learned that the school had taken notice of his generosity and wanted to reward him for his kindness. “You earned it, Derek!” Mr. Butler exclaimed. “We learned of your help to Aiden and his family. His father, a firefighter, was badly hurt and they are struggling. Your gesture was a wonderful thing, and it means a lot to Aiden and his family.” Mr. Butler then added, “And about that box…”
Derek placed a box filled with gloves and scarves beside the front gate of the school campus two days prior. The box was accompanied by a sign that read, “If you’re feeling chilly, take something from here. Yours truly, Derek.”
Unable to shake the thoughts of other students who might be suffering like Aiden, Derek purchased more scarves and gloves after receiving his paycheck and placed the items in a new box on the school grounds.
The school principal and numerous parents were touched by Derek’s kindness, and he was honored in a school-wide ceremony. As a result, Derek received a pay increase. But the impact of his generosity didn’t end there.
Inspired by Derek’s selflessness, the school established a fund to assist children from economically disadvantaged families. It was a remarkable outcome, all thanks to a bus driver’s compassionate heart and a few simple items like gloves and a scarf.