The main job of a school bus driver is to get the kids to school safely and on time—but sometimes they’re called upon to help in other ways, not by the school or the parents, or even by the students themselves, but by their own conscience.
When John Lunceford, a school bus driver in Kennewick, Washington, saw one of his young passengers was in distress, he not only found a short-term solution to the problem but fixed the root cause too—in one simple act of kindness.
While driving along his route, Lunceford noticed that one of his students was crying when he got on the bus.
It was below freezing outside, and the young elementary school student was crying because he wasn’t properly dressed for the cold. The kind bus driver couldn’t just watch the boy suffering, so he gave him his own pair of gloves and tried to comfort him.
“His ears were red and his hands were pink,” Lunceford told Inside Edition.
It broke his heart. “I put my gloves on him and told him, ‘It’ll be OK, it’ll be OK,'” Lunceford said.
The boy had been waiting outside for the bus in the freezing temperatures for a while. By the time he reached the school, he was warm and wasn’t crying, but Lunceford was troubled. He thought, how many other students in the school don’t have appropriate clothing for the winter season?
Once his route was through, Lunceford drove to a dollar store and stocked up on hats and gloves.
“He bought ten stocking hats and ten sets of gloves, in black or pink, and headed back to the school,” the Kennewick School District wrote in a Facebook post that quickly went viral.
Unaware of the student’s name, Lunceford went into the principal’s office with the hats and gloves he’d purchased and explained the situation. They tracked the boy down, finding him in the library, and gave him his own set of hat and gloves.
Lunceford now hands out the extra hats and gloves to any student on his bus who says they don’t have any.
Lunceford is 52, a U.S. Army Veteran, and a grandfather. But most importantly, he says, “I’m an old softie.”
“No one wants a kid to suffer like that,” Lunceford said.
Over a thousand people commented on the school’s Facebook post, praising Lunceford for his compassion.
Lunceford said he didn’t know why he got so much attention for what he did, but we think his act of kindness is certainly worth celebrating. It’s good to remember that seemingly small deeds can have a big impact.
“I wasn’t doing it for popularity. I did it because it was the right thing to do. That’s the way I was raised,” he told Inside Edition. “There are bus drivers who buy shoes for kids that need them. We all really like the kids.”