School bus drivers are so much more than just drivers.
They play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of students during their daily commute to and from school. But more than that, they often develop a special bond with the kids they transport and their interactions can have a significant impact on their daily lives.
No one knows this more than mom, Kelly Isenberg.
How a School Bus Driver Changed a Little Boy’s Life
Isenberg’s son, six-year-old Kameron, had been struggling with his transition into kindergarten at Cane Bay Elementary in Summerville, South Carolina for a while.
“We found that he was having a lot of negative behavior issues that landed him in the principal’s office several times a day almost every single day,” Isenberg said.
It wasn’t just an “especially challenging” time for Kameron, it was challenging for his teachers, school administrators, and parents as well.
After months of trying different reward systems and failing, Kameron’s special education teacher, Stephanie Williams, finally offered him an incentive of his own choosing.
Unlike other kids who wanted monetary rewards for good behavior, Kameron just wanted to see the school bus.
“Kameron knocked on the [school bus] door and Mr. Charles came up to the front and opened the door, and [he was] excited to see him. I said, ‘I know we’re early [but can Kameron] get on the bus for a little bit and chat to you?’ And that’s all it took,” Williams recalled in a video posted to the Berkeley County School District’s Facebook page.
Williams had found Kameron’s currency and Kameron found a life-changing friend. Someone who was willing to give him one of the greatest gifts of all: his time.
“Ever since that day, there’s not been a problem,” Williams said. “He’s been fantastic and wonderful. Trying new things.”
While being first on the bus and spending 5 minutes talking to the driver, Charles Frierson, may not seem like a lot, for Kameron, it means the world.
One Man’s Act of Kindness Has Far-Reaching Effects
Thanks to Mr. Charles, Kameron’s behavior did a complete 180. It’s a transformation that Williams, who has been teaching for over 20 years, has never witnessed before.
“The way he glows when he sees Mr. Charles, it’s something that’s indescribable,” Williams said. “This man has just made such a difference. Not only in my life, Kameron’s life, but the life of every child in that classroom…and he doesn’t even realize it.”
But Kameron’s mom sure does. She is beyond grateful to the man who has had such a positive impact on her son’s life.
In an emotionally heartfelt letter to the school board, she wrote:
“I have always believed angels come when you least expect them. This holds especially true in regard to Mr. Charles, the bus driver of school bus #220 of Berkeley County, SC.”
She went on to say, “I would like him to know how much we truly and absolutely appreciate him for who he is and what he has done for my son.” She signed it, ‘A forever grateful parent.’
Hearing the letter brought Mr. Charles to tears. (Okay, fiiiiiiine, me too).
Mr. Charles has been driving a school bus for four years but only started driving for the school district last year. Obviously, he’s exactly where he’s meant to be.
A Friendship That Goes Round and Round
Isenberg also shares that her son’s friendship has extended beyond the school bus. The two regularly have McDonalds and ice cream dates and Mr. Charles even attends Kameron’s baseball games on the weekends.
Recently, Kameron graduated from Kindergarten and you can bet, Mr. Charles was there.
As much as his “little buddy” loves him, Mr. Charles loves Kameron right back.
“His parents thank me but I thank God that He allowed me to be in Kameron’s life,” Mr. Charles shared, wiping away tears. “He’s my buddy to the end.”
The unlikely duo has plans to continue getting together over the summer and will go back to their routine on the school bus in the Fall, where it all began.
The Power of Connection
So often in life, we have no idea of the impact we have on other people. We go to work, go to school, and carry on with our daily routines, often unaware of the profound effects our actions can have on those around us.
And yet, just taking five minutes a day to talk to one person, to make a connection, has the power to literally change a life.
“It has always been said that it takes a village to raise a child but only one to make a difference. Mr. Charles has absolutely made that difference.”
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