No one should ever have to lose a parent at a young age. For 11-year-old Isabella Pieri, this was her reality after losing her mother two years ago due to a rare brain illness. Her father didn’t know how to style his daughter’s hair. That was always her mother’s responsibility. So, when Pieri’s school bus driver, Tracy Dean, noticed the young girl needed help, she decided to braid her hair. Pieri could possibly have the sweetest bus driver ever.
Tried Styling Her Own Hair
Pieri lost her mother when she was just nine years old. The loss was hard for her family as they tried to return to their daily routine. Pieri realized that she didn’t know how to style her hair. Her mother always completed the daily task. Her father, Philip Pieri, worked long hours at a convenience store near their home in American Fork, Utah. Before leaving for school every day, Philip would try to quickly fix his daughter’s hair, but he knew he wasn’t doing a good job.
“She’d get mad at me for pulling her hair,” he said. “I didn’t know how to do it.” He instructed her to pull her hair back into a ponytail. This wasn’t the ideal situation, but it’s what the family had to do. So, it must have been surprising when Isabella came home from school one day with her hair pulled back into a beautiful braid.
Philip remarked, “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.” At first, Philip had no idea how Isabella managed to style her hair on her own. However, when she told him her bus driver braided her hair, he could hardly believe the news.
Helping Her Every Day
Isabella’s school bus driver, Tracy Dean, noticed she was struggling with her hair. The bus driver, who has been working for Alpine School District for 10 years, wanted to help her, even in the smallest way possible. So, every morning once the bus arrives at Isabella’s elementary school, Dean quickly braids the girl’s hair before she gets off the bus to start her school day.
“We usually do two French braids first and once in a while, she just wants one braid,” Dean said. “I also taught her 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.’” Dean, the mother of four, doesn’t think braiding Isabella’s hair every morning is a big deal. “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.”
Dean’s act of kindness hits home for her. The bus driver was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago. She thought to herself, “What if it were my child?” What if her child needed help braiding her hair? Dean would hope someone would help her children if she was no longer able to care for them.
Like many heartwarming stories, news of Dean’s act of kindness spread on social media. Several Twitter users shared their thoughts on the story. For example, one user (@SusanLazarHart) commented, “Loving this. Truly a wonderful reminder of what a contribution kindness is, for both the gifted and the gifter.” Another user (@MarkRPrime) said, “It’s the little things that are the big things.”
As for what Isabella thinks, she loves the sweet gesture. She exclaimed, “Tracy is the best bus driver in the whole galaxy!” It’s hard to disagree with her. As long as Dean is around, Isabella will always have the best styled hair in the 5th grade.
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