A Texas school bus driver has stepped up to champion a visually impaired fourth grader after she made it known to her parents that she wanted to ride the bus by herself.
When A’Delyn Williams, 9, told her mother, Ambrea Strang, that she wanted to ride the bus for her fourth grade year at Carver Elementary School, the mom of three was a little skeptical.
“I don’t think I was actually ready,” Ambrea of Greenville told The Epoch Times, “but she talked me into it this year and I’m glad she did.”
“I felt really excited,” said A’Delyn, referring to choosing to go on the bus by herself. “It’s something I wanted to do for a while.”
Returning home from school on Aug. 18, to her mom and sisters, Amira and Alani, A’Delyn had already made a meaningful connection with her bus driver, Ryan. The compassionate driver had helped her both on and off the bus in her own time.
When A’Delyn was born, her optic nerves didn’t develop properly. Eventually, she lost her vision altogether. As such, Ambrea was determined to accompany her daughter to school on her first day back, but conceded to the bus on the second.
“Seeing her do it, and so happy about doing it by herself, just melted my heart,” she said.
The proud mom shared a video on TikTok of her daughter’s first solo ride, captioned, “Y’all just don’t know how proud I am!”
In a second clip, filmed upon A’Delyn’s return home, A’Delyn and Ryan walk down the bus’s steps and onto the sidewalk together, with the driver holding an umbrella over the fourth grader’s head to shield her from light rain.
A’Delyn briefly loses her balance, but recovers. “I’m clumsy!” she says. In solidarity, Ryan replies, “I am, too!”
To date, Ambrea’s moving clips have been viewed over 2.4 million times.
(Courtesy of Ambrea Strang)
(Courtesy of Ambrea Strang)
According to Fox News, Ambrea said that her daughter had been reticent to return to school for the fall term, saying she doesn’t have many friends. Yet riding the bus has already changed that.
“[A’Delyn] says her favorite part of school is the bus ride there and home,” Ambrea said. “Mr. Ryan is so good with her, and all the other special needs children.”
However, A’Delyn’s charm has won her more friendships than one. “I’m friends with everyone on the bus; I sing for them,” the 9-year-old told The Epoch Times. But Ryan, she says, is the best: “he’s so funny.”
Ambrea says her “outspoken, smart, sweet, and independent” daughter is doing great with the bus. “She gets on and off it by herself,” she praised. “She still stumbles from time to time, but it’s probably because she’s so busy talking!”
A’Delyn, who loves to make new friends, wants to pay it forward in the future. “My dream is to be a singer and a teacher at the blind school, and help kids just like me,” she said.