The first day of pre-kindergarten could be difficult for little kids. There are so many unfamiliar things happening at once, such as separating from their parents, going to a new location, being surrounded by new people, and discovering a brand new routine. It’s a lot to take in at once, and many kids cry from the new, scary, and overwhelming situation. That was the case for Axel when he started pre-k in 2019 in Wisconsin. However, the bus driver took care of him in a heart-warming story that will hopefully inspire hope for the coming school year.
“The bus opened the door and he started crying”
Amy Johnson, Axel’s mother, wanted to take a photo on the school bus to commemorate the big day. However, instead of a cheery smile, the camera captured a red face full of tears. “He was super excited to go, but when the bus came around the corner he was really quiet,” she said. “The bus opened the door and I looked at him and he started crying.” When Johnson picked up Axel to put him on a bus seat, he clung to her and refused to let her get off the bus. “I told him, ‘Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun,’ ” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Isabel Lane, the bus driver motioned them to the empty seat right behind her. And when Axel didn’t let his mother go, she held out her hand to comfort him. “I stuck my hand behind the seat as maybe something else to grab onto and he grabbed my hand,” Lane said. 
When Johnson got off the bus, she took a photo of her son holding onto the kind bus driver’s hand. That very photo was later posted on the Augusta Police Department’s Facebook page where it garnered over 2.4 thousand likes.
In the caption, they wrote, “In our 2nd ‘official’ year in the school, we really need to shout out our school staff. This is one of our wonderful bus drivers, Miss Lane, holding the hand of a scared little one on his first day of school! The compassion we see every day in our teachers, bus drivers, custodians, administration, food service staff, and paraprofessionals is truly admirable. We are so fortunate to be able to partner with these people!” 
Praise for the bus driver
The comments are full of appreciation for Lane.
“These are the people in our lives as children we will never forget!” said one commenter. “Miss Lane, thank you for your love and compassion…”
“This is so beautiful!” said another. “I can only pray my babies come across an angel like her when they need a shoulder and mama isn’t there! You make moms everywhere so happy that there are people like you out there!”
Meanwhile, Lane was taken aback by all the praise. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, personally… I guess it’s just something that I would do,” she said.
Lane was a bus driver for the Augusta School District for under a year at that point. And despite her reservations, she deserves this recognition for how well she works with kids. “I could see that he needed to be comforted and that was the best I could do at the time,” Lane said. In fact, after talking to the bus driver and holding her hand, Axel stopped crying before they reached the end of the road.
“Isabel is a bus driver and also serves as a special education aide in our school district,” Ryan Nelson, district administrator of Augusta Area School District. “The exceptional thing about Isabel is that while this picture has gotten a great deal of attention, this is the type of person she is every day with everyone she comes in contact with.”
A little act could make a big difference
Additionally, because of the small town, Lanes gets to know about the kids she drives. She explains that she enjoys cheering the kids on every day. “A big win for me is every morning I tell the kids as they get off to make it a good day and when I have a kid who I know doesn’t like to go to school say, ‘Yeah, I’ll try.'”
And Axel became one of those kids she cheers on. “The day after [his first day] he was waiting at the bus stop all by himself, he got on all smiles and [was] talking to me the whole time, so he is doing much better now.
“I think it kind of goes for anyone, if you see someone may be struggling just to do something as simple as reaching out a hand and showing that you are there… You don’t have to say anything but just to show someone you are there makes a big difference in someone’s day.” 
- “He was nervous about the first day of school, so his school bus driver held his hand for support.” CNN. Alisha Ebrahimji. September 13, 2019
- “Augusta WI Police Department.” Facebook. September 6, 2019
- “Mom captures heartwarming photo of son holding bus driver’s hand on first day of school.” Yahoo Life. Hope Schreiber. September 12, 2019