Bus Driver Braids Little Girl's Hair Every Morning Since Her Mother Died

“And it makes me excited for the next day to see what she does.”

Losing your mother at an early age can be life-altering. For Isabella Pieri, whose mother passed away two years ago after her long battle with a rare illness, the loss meant learning to lean on her father as she approaches the pre-teen struggles every girl faces growing up. Yet, while her father, Philip Pieri, has been doing all he can to fill the shoes of both mother and father, he failed to master one skill that remains crucial for 11-year-olds such as Isabella: hair.

"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," Philip Pieri told KSLTV.

Once her hair grew back, however, Isabella learned to care for her own 'do, often opting for a simple ponytail on her way out the door each morning. It wasn't until she noticed her bus driver, Tracy Dean, braiding another classmate's hair that Isabella gathered the courage to ask the Salt Lake City, Utah woman to tame her mane, too.

"You can't be shy, you've got to talk to them. You treat them like your own kids, you know,"  Dean told KSLTV reporters.

Dean attributes her budding relationship with the community she serves to her prior cancer diagnosis.

"Seven years ago, I found out I had breast cancer, and that's one of the things that went though my head — who is going to take care of my little ones? Not that my husband couldn't do it, but you know, that's what moms do. They do their kids' hair," she added.

Dean's selfless deed has also taken social media by storm, restoring people's faith in humanity, while also inspiring others to share their own stories of heartfelt gestures within their own community.

They say it "takes a village" to raise a child, and for Isabella, this mindset means she now has a mother figure to look up to as she navigates the twists and turns of her youth.

"It makes me feel like she's a mom pretty much to me," Isabella said. "And it makes me excited for the next day to see what she does."

Dean's selfless act has also boosted Isabella's confidence, as the young girl's teacher, Mrs. Freeze, noted that "her head was a little higher that morning" she first asked for Dean's help. While this gesture will surely provide Isabella with the conviction she needs to remain positive and empowered for years to come, Dean can find great comfort in knowing that her handiwork made a lasting impact on the life of one young girl in particular.

Cover image via Paloma A./Unsplash

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