The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.
Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.
"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.
The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.
"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.
But despite the encouraging words from his mom, Axel was still scared, tears streaming down his red face.
"She had set him down in the seat and he kept trying to grab for her as she was trying to get off the bus," Lane said. So she reached back and grabbed ahold of his hand to comfort him.
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal personally…I guess it's just something that I would do," Lane said.
That's when Johnson snapped a photo of the heartwarming moment. She'd planned on getting a picture of her son happily heading off to his first day of school, but what she got instead might be even better.
The photo she captured, with Lane holding Axel's hand, is a wonderful example of how a small gesture of kindness can make a big impact.
"I think it kind of goes for anyone, if you see someone maybe struggling just to do something as simple as reaching out a hand and showing that you are there," Lane said. "You don't have to say anything but just to show someone you are there makes a big difference in someone's day."
Clearly it worked, because the next day, Axel wasn't so scared anymore.
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"The day after that he was waiting at the bus stop all by himself, he got on all smiles and talking to me the whole time so he is doing much better now," Lane said.
Lane's actions caught the attention of the community, as well, with the local police department sharing the photo on its Facebook page.
"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!" the police department wrote.
"I love that people in my community are kindhearted and Izzy is definitely that," Johnson said of her son's bus driver.
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