This man proves bus drivers are so much more than chauffeurs.

When you’re a kid, theme days at school are a big deal. They’re a chance to dress up in something special and break from your regular routine, all while showing your classmates a side of your personality that you might not always bring to school.  

So when you aren’t able to participate in one, it can also be a big deal. That happened to one kid in Kentucky recently, but luckily, his bus driver stepped in to save the day.

A Disappointed Student

a man with a little boy in front of a school bus

One day, a first-grade student named Levi was waiting for the school bus. As the driver, Larry Farrish Jr., approached the stop, he noticed something was different about the boy.

“I pulled up to the bus stop, and I saw Levi sitting down by himself with his head down, and it dawned on me, something is wrong,” Farrish told Jefferson County Public School in a blog post. “He’s always happy, but this particular day, he was not happy.”

When Farrish asked what was wrong, he noticed Levi was crying. The boy explained that he didn’t have pajamas for pajama day.

“It hurt me so bad,” Farrish added. “That just wasn’t my Levi, and I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Determined to Do Some Kindness

Farrish knew he had to do something, so after he dropped Levi off at school and finished the morning bus run, he headed over to the nearby dollar store. There, he grabbed several pairs of pajamas in different sizes and drove back to the school.

He asked the office if they could call Levi down, and that’s when both his and Farrish’s days took a major turn.

“I saw Levi coming down the hall, and he had a face just as happy as could be,” Farrish recalled. “It really turned the whole Friday around, for him and for me.”

As for the first-grader, he was over the moon.

“I can tell Mr. Larry is nice and his heart is filled with joy,” Levi said. “I’m usually really happy, but not on pajama day… When he got me the pajamas, I did a happy cry.”

More Than a Driver

Farris has been a bus driver for about seven years now, but he sees himself as more than a driver. He feels that his position allows him to connect with kids and make a real difference in their lives, and he takes the job pretty seriously.

“They become my kids after they leave their parents,” Farrish continued in the blog post. “I make sure they get to and from school safe, but I also try to bring some type of joy to their lives.”

That could mean playing games or telling jokes or something like a special handshake between him and the students. Or, in the case of Levi, grabbing some extra pajamas so that all kids have the chance to participate in a theme day.

“It feels good knowing I made an impact on a child’s life,” he added.

Little Acts of Kindness

One reason this story is so touching is because it reminds us what a big difference a small act can make in someone else’s life. It also reminds us that while we often think of teachers as the ones who impact our children while they’re at school, there is a whole village looking out for them.

Lastly, this story reminds us that we’re an essential part of that village, too. Whether we have kids or not, remember to practice kindness and lead with empathy, especially when it comes to kids. Doing so can make a big difference in how they grow up. Not only do kids learn by example, but when they know they’re loved they really do thrive.

So make the goofy faces, practice the secret handshakes, or just be a safe space for anyone who needs it. You never know how much it may mean to someone down the line.