School bus driver helps braid hair of little girl who lost her mother

ALPINE, Utah (WSVN) — A school bus driver is being credited for going above and beyond for one of her young riders.

Isabella Pieri is 11 years old. Her mom used to help her get ready for school each morning, but died due to a rare illness two years ago.

Philip Pieri said he has done the best he could to help his little girl after her mom’s death, but admits he didn’t know what to do with her 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,” he told KSL-TV.

Once Isabella’s crew cut grew out, the 11-year-old would just pull it back into a pony tail each morning. But when she saw her bus driver, Tracey Dean, fixing another classmate’s braid, Isabella got the courage to ask if she could braid her hair as well.

Ever since, Dean has been styling the girl’s hair nearly every morning.

“You can’t be shy, you’ve got to talk to them. You treat them like your own kids, you know,” Dean told the news outlet.

The small gesture has made a big difference in Isabella’s life.

“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.”

Even her teacher said she could tell the new hairstyles helped boost Isabella’s confidence.

“I just noticed her head was a little higher that morning,” her teacher, Mrs. Freeze told KSL, “and she had a little more of a step.”

Isabella’s dad says he’s grateful that Dean stepped in to help his daughter, but she says she’s happy to help.

“Seven years ago, I found out I had breast cancer, and that’s one of the things that went through 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 mom’s do. They do their kids’ hair.”

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