This hero bus driver braids girl's hair after her mother dies.
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Hero Bus Driver Braids Girl’s Hair Every Morning After Her Mom Dies

Image Source: Tracy Dean

11-year-old Isabella Pieri knows the intense heartache of loss. Two years ago, her mother, Patricia Pieri, died of a rare illness. Since then her father, Philip Pieri, has taken on the daunting role of single parenthood to Isabella and her older brother. The one thing Philip has yet to master? Doing Isabella’s hair.

Philip tells Utah news station KSL TV,

“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.”

If you have ever had the distinct pleasure of attempting to run a brush through a child’s hair whom you swear must have been spending the night wrestling with lions instead of sleeping, you know the struggle is real.

Isabella has since grown her hair back out but has grappled with its everyday maintenance.

That’s when an angel among us stepped in. Her name? Tracy Dean.

The 47-year-old Utah school bus driver and mother of four tells Sammiches and Psych Meds,

I really wanted to do her hair last year. I just didn’t know how to go about asking her if I could help her for fear I might hurt her feelings.”

Just after Christmas break, Tracy finally got her chance.

When a friend of hers asked me to help her with a braid that was giving her fits, I told her ‘yes’. After a couple of weeks Isabella asked me if I would braid her hair if she brought a brush to school. I was so thrilled! I thought to myself, ‘Thank you Lord above.”

And so began the daily ritual of Tracy braiding Isabella’s hair. Can I just say, best school bus driver EVER?

Image Source: Tracy Dean

What Tracy is doing for this 11-year-old girl goes far beyond just hair. It is love in action. And love? It can make all the difference.

Tracy tells us, “She [Isabella] walks a lot taller now. She has more confidence.”

Her father agrees. He tells ABC News,

“I call her my princess and she looks the part, she plays the part and her confidence is way up.”

Let’s face it, when our hair looks good, we feel good.

For Isabella, it’s not just a hair-do. She tells KSL TV,

“It makes me feel like she’s a mom pretty much to me and it makes me excited for the next day to see what she does.”

Having lost my own mother to breast cancer far too young, I am painfully aware of the fragility of life. If something were to happen to me, I would want nothing more than to have someone like Tracy in my own children’s lives. Someone to show them that good exists. That life-changing kindness can be found in the smallest of acts. Someone to show them what the love of a mother looks like, even when she’s not your own.

Tracy herself is a breast cancer survivor and tells us what prompted her to help Isabella in the first place.

“You know, this is just who I am. I’ve always tried to look outside of the box because we are all different. We all have different stories. You never know what someone might be going through. If I can make one person smile everyday, then that’s one less sad child or person in this world.”

Amen, sister.

She goes on to say,

“This is something everyone should live by. I’m far from perfect. I have my own struggles. But I hold my head high and walk on.”

Walk on, Tracy, and keep spreading your love, one braid at a time. The world can use all the kindness it can get.