Bus Driver Keeps Girl On Bus, Worried Dad Follows And Learns Valuable Lesson

Secret’s Out

He drove around the corner of their street and parked behind a neighbor's car. Peering out from behind his steering wheel, he watched her.

Isabella ran out of the house and boarded the bus. He cautiously followed suit, careful not to be seen. At first, everything seemed fine but then he saw something that left him grappling for answers. 

Philip And Isabella

Philip Pieri and his 11-year-old daughter, Isabella, lived together in Utah. Every morning, Philip had to leave for work before dawn so Isabella had to prepare for school and get on the bus herself. 

As far as he knew, she never missed a class. So the first time she brought home a late slip, he didn’t think too much about it. But when she started bringing home more and more, he started to worry.

A Happy Family

Although they didn’t have much money, Isabella was a happy child. Her home was loving and Philip always worked hard to ensure that she would not be in need of anything. 

Isabella's mom, Patricia, was the family's rock. No matter how hard times got, she always assured Philip that everything would be ok. Back then however, none of them knew what life had in store for them.


When Isabella was only three years old, Patricia was diagnosed with a terminal illness and passed away after a six-year battle. Philip was left distraught and dealt with his grief by burrying himself in work. 

He made a promise to himself that he was going to provide a good life for young Isabella. However, his determination meant that no one was there to help Isabella get ready for school in the mornings. It was the catalyst to everything. 

No Choice

After losing her mother, Isabella had no choice but to grow up fast. Not only did she wake herself up early every morning, but she also got herself ready for school and made sure to catch her school bus on time.  

Life wasn’t easy but she soldiered on. However, it was only a matter of  time before the cracks in thier family began to show. 

A Change In Behavior

Philip knew that things were difficult for his daughter since her mother had passed away, but he never imagined this. Isabella had changed and he couldn’t blame her. So much has happened.

It isn’t easy for a nine-year-old to lose a parent, and it took obviously its toll on Isabella. She was missing a role in her life that Philip simply couldn’t fill. And he was about to be reminded of that.

Unlikely Friendship

The fist time it happened, Isabella thought nothing of it. But once she saw what she'd done, she jumped with joy. It was nice to have someone help her and it made her mornings.

The more time that went by, the more their relationhship blossomed. Isabella had finally found someone who took time out of their morning to give her the attention that she craved. But there'd soon be consequences. 

Warning Signs

Isabella began to get warnings about being late for school. At first, it was just now and again but now, it was nearly every morning. Philip had to get to the bottom of this. 

Isabella has never behaved badly. This wasn't like her. So one day, Philip devided to sit down with her and ask her what was going on. He asked her to explain all these reports but Isabella refused to talk.

Warning Signs

Philip was in shock at her response. She was always such a polite girl. Why was she acting defiantly now? He asked her again in a stern and strong tone but it was no use. 

It was obvious that Isabella didn’t want him to know the truth. Instead, she quickly changed the subject. He grew deeply suspicious and decided to try to get to the bottom of it, without her knowing. 

The Plan

Philip had a plan. He was going to pretend to go to work as usual but wait in the neighborhood to see if Isabella really took the bus every day like she said she did. 

He drove around the corner of their street and waited as he ducked down behind his steering wheel. The bus came right on time, so too did Isabella. He briefly took note of how the bus driver greeted her and continued to follow her.


The bus slowly made its way to Isabella school. For Philip, it looked as though everything was completely normal. But the secret was about to be revealed.

The bus pulled up to the school and the doors opened. He watched intently as kids dismounted then he noticed something that made his eyes pop open.


That evening Philip sat down with Isabella and confronted her again. He started off by tentatively asking her whether she had problems sleeping and whether that caused her to be late. 

He was trying to get her to willingly tell him about what he witnessed that morning but her lips were still sealed. Without a choice, he caved and asked her about what he saw. Isabella’s eyes widened in surprise.

The Truth Comes Out

He asked her why she was being kept on the bus longer than the other children. Isabella broke down and sobbed as she told her father everything. 

The driver had been holding Isabella back on the bus after all the other children had left. Philips brow knotted as he grew anxious at the sight of her tears, “Why would the bus driver do that?” he asked. 

A Big Problem

After her mother passed, there were a lot of things that Isabella simply couldn’t do for herself. This wasn’t news to Philip, he knew she was missing out on learning about girly things from her mom. 

But he didn’t realize she was falling short this bad. A tear fell on his cheek as he raised his hand to catch it before she could see his distress. "What happened?" he asked again.

Hair Issues

Since she was little, Isabella struggled with her hair. She didn’t know how to take care of it properly and was scared to tell her dad about it after what happened the last time. 

He had tried as hard as possible to help untangle Isabella’s hair, but he didn’t know how to. “She’d get mad at me for pulling her hair. I didn’t know how to do it,” he admitted. That’s when he took drastic measures. 

All Gone

He took the clippers he used to trim his own hair and used it to shave off Isabella’s hair. After inspecting her bald head in the mirror, Isabella was horrified with what he had done. 

However, knowing he was trying his best, she concealed her sadness. It took two years to grow out again. When her dad suggested shaving it the next time it got matted, Isabella refused. Then, they agreed on a compromise.

A Good Chop

Instead of shaving Isabella’s head again, Philip took out a pair of scissors and cut half of the length off. But this didn’t solve the issue, and soon Isabella’s hair was matted and unkempt again. 

She had no choice but to tie it up to try to hide it, until the day the bus driver noticed she needed help. Who was she?

Taking Notice

Tracy Dean loved her job, and she loved children. When she saw that Isabella was struggling, she knew she had to step in. 

She saw that Isabella’s hair had been cut the night before and suspected that her dad had no idea how to style it. She asked her to stay behind on the bus and whipped out a hairstyling kit from her handbag.

A Morning Routine

Soon, Isabella and Tracy’s hair styling sessions became routine. Tracy would comb Isabella’s hair out every morning and plait it into a French braid. 

“I could tell she was struggling with her hair. We usually do two French braids first and once in a while she just wants one braid,” Tracy admitted in an interview. But why did she do it?

Making Progress

At first, it was slow-going. It took a full week of 10-minute sessions for Tracy to slowly untangle Isabella’s hair. She had been slightly late for school on those days, but Tracy knew it was important. 

She has four children at home -- one who is almost Isabella’s age. But when Isabella began to open up about her mom, Tracy couldn’t hold back.

A Deep Connection

When Tracy heard about Isabella’s mom, she started to cry. It was a story that was close to her own heart. 

Tracy revealed that in the past, she had had cancer herself, just like Isabella’s mom. She knew she was lucky to have pulled through and was grateful that she could still be there for her children.

What Moms Do

“Seven years ago, I found out I had breast cancer, and that’s one of the things that went though my head," Tracy said, pausing to hold back the tears.

"Who is going to take care of my little ones? Not that my husband couldn’t do it, but you know, that’s what mom’s do. They do their kids’ hair,” Tracy added.

A Motherly Touch

“I didn’t just survive for my husband or my children. I survived for these kids on the bus that need somebody to talk to or do their hair or whatever,” Tracy explained in an interview. 

“I also taught (Isabella) how to brush her hair. She’d get on the bus and she’d say, ‘I brushed my hair. Does it look good? I’ll say, ‘You did awesome.'”

His Little Princess

Naturally, when Philip found out about Tracy and Isabella’s morning routine, he was dumbfounded. Isabella kept it from him because she didn't want to hurt his feelings.

But Philip is only grateful to Tracy. “One day [Isabella] came home and it looked beautiful. I call her my princess and she looks the part, she plays the part and her confidence is way up, which is what I’ve been intending,” Philip said.


Philip says he “was amazed” when he learned that his daughter’s school bus driver had shown such an act of kindness. “Tracy didn’t have to step up, but she stepped up to help out,” he said, hiding the tears.

“I originally just gave her a crew cut because I didn’t know how, and it was all tangled and I couldn’t get it out for anything,” he told KSL TV.

Confidence Boost

"It makes me feel like she's a mom pretty much to me, and it makes me really excited for the next day to see what she does," Isabella said. But it goes much deeper than that. 

For Isabella, her neat and beautifully styled hair has made a world of difference. And others noticed it, too. “I just noticed her head was a little higher that morning, and she had a little more of a step,” one of her teachers said.


Like many heartwarming stories, news of Dean’s act of kindness spread like wildfire thanks to social media. Netizens shared their thoughts on the story. 

One user commented: “Loving this. Truly a wonderful reminder of what a contribution kindness is, for both the gifted and the gifter.” Another user said: “It’s the little things that are the big things.” But what does Isabella think?

A Humble Hero

“Tracy is the best bus driver in the whole galaxy!” Isabella exclaimed. And soon, the media caught wind of the heartwarming story and Tracy was hailed a hero, but she remains humble.

“It’s just the way my mom raised me, to be nice to everyone—people who need a little love in their life. I like to give all of the kids a chance—even the naughty kids,” she chimed. But Tracey isn't the only bus driver who's intentions were misunderstood. 

Bus Lady Martha

Martha thought she was so careful. She even typed it out on the computer so her handwriting couldn’t be identified. Her mind raced to think of a way out of this.

But before she could say anything, the principal spoke, “Martha, We know about the letter you gave Nathan. It’s too late”. Her life was about to be changed forever because of a few simple words. 

Nathan Cook

12-year old, Nathan Cook was like most young boys his age; playful, energetic and curious. He loved adventures and exploring. He was a very inquisitive kid and loved talking to people. He was also very friendly. 

Nathan’s mom, Dee, had a hard time teaching him about the danger of talking to strangers as he naturally trusted everyone.   

Watch And Stare

She was watching him for a while now. As she drove, she paid attention to what he would say and how he would act. She couldn’t help but stare in wonder at how he behaved.  

Nathan got the bus to school everyday. He’d board the bus with other kids from his neighborhood and return from school the same way. 

The Bus Driver

Nathan had the same bus driver on most days. Sometimes they changed but mostly, it was Martha. Martha had been bringing kids to school for the past 2 years. She loved her job and she loved kids. 

Nathan had formed a close bond with her. But little did he know that as he rode home from school that day, he would never share another bus ride with her again. 

Being Discreet 

Nathan sat with his friend the whole journey back as he usually did. At his stop, he rose and departed just like normal. But something happened that Nathan wasn’t aware of. 

As Nathan waited for Martha to open the doors, she discreetly slipped a little letter inside his bag. It was the first time she did something like this and she didn’t want anyone to see her.   

Letter Found

She left the letter anonymous as she really didn’t want to get caught singling out particular kids. But she had to admit, she loved Nathan, he was her absolute favorite. 

Nathan went home that day to do his homework but before he even realized he had a letter, his mom, Dee found it. She asked him where it came from and he replied that he had no idea. Then her jaw dropped.

 Solving The Mystery

As she continued reading her heart began to race. “Who gave you this Nathan?”, she demanded. “I don’t know Mom”, he replied, “What is it?”.

She asked him where his bag has been all day, questioning him about where someone could have dropped this in without him realizing. It didn’t take long for Dee to realize that this must have been written by his bus driver. 

Case Closed

She asked Nathan who was driving today, and when he said it was Martha, there was no doubt left in her mind. She had to do something about this. 

As Dee read her son’s letter again, her eyes began to tear. She had no idea why Martha felt the need to write this and it filled her with so much pain. She always thought she was such a nice woman who went above and beyond for the kids. She called the school.


The next day, Martha woke to several missed calls. She wasn’t working today but the school had asked her to come in. There was something urgent they needed to speak to her about. 

Confused, Martha put herself together and drove to the head office. She entered the office to find the principal, some other board members and Nathan’s mom, Dee present. Dread rose in her stomach as she began to panic. 


She thought she was so careful. She even typed it out on the computer so her handwriting couldn’t be identified. She raced to think of a way out of this one. 

Dee stared at her with piercing eyes as the principal told her that he was made aware of the letter she gave Nathan. Then, he gave the floor to Dee, who spoke with a gentle voice. 


This was only the third time they met so Dee felt the need to introduce herself again. “I took the liberty to organise this today, Martha. I received your letter. 

“Before you say anything, I know it was from you. And I want to be here to see the look on your face when you hear what will happen next”, Dee said.  

The Letter

The principal intervened again to tell Martha that she would no longer have to drive buses as she had been promoted to manager of overlooking all transport within the school. 

In her letter addressed to Nathan’s mom, Dee, that she was ‘compelled to write’ was an admiration and applause for raising Nathan who had taken it upon himself to look after and befriend an austistic boy on the bus who found the journey difficult. 

Good Parenting

She wrote that she watched him be gentle, kind and patient with him while all the other kids ignore him and even make fun of him. She wrote that he had a heart of gold that was only possible with great parenting. 

She then continued to detail her own struggles as she was younger and how she would have loved parents like them or a friend like Nathan. 


Dee was so overwhelmed with her surprising anonymous letter that she just had to find out who it was and express her thanks. Parenting is tough so it was a much needed affirmation for her!

But when she put two and two together and figured out it was Martha, she just wanted to make sure the school knew of her good deed. However, when she rang, the school had a plan of their own. 


After she explained what Martha did and the hardships of her past, she asked for some recognition for this woman that kindly and graciously looked after all these kids. But the school mentioned that this wasn’t the first time they received a call like this. 

In fact, they heard amazing reviews for a while and already planned to give her a promotion! A perfect example of how good work and kindness will always reap rewards!