The dawn of a new school year is often full of exciting – and occasionally overwhelming – “firsts” for students, which perhaps explains why a “beautiful” image of a school bus driver comforting a crying 4-year-old boy on his first day of school has gone viral online.
Last week, Amy Johnson’s young son Axel headed to preschool in their hometown of August, Wis., and felt “super excited” for the big day — until it was time to hop on the bus that morning, Fox 5 reports.
Johnson said that as soon as the bus rolled around the corner, her youngster fell silent before bursting into tears when the bus doors opened.
“I picked him up and got him on bus,” she recalled. “He started to cling to me and I told him, ‘Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!’”
Fortunately for little Axel, bus driver Isabel “Izzy” Lane knew exactly what to do.
As the youngster got settled in his seat directly behind Lane, tears rolling down his face, the compassionate driver reached to offer a comforting hand for the boy to hold, which Amy immediately caught on camera.
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal personally, just I guess, it's just something that I would do,” Lane later told WEAU.
The small act of kindness meant a whole lot to Axel, who eventually calmed down and felt brave enough to tackle the bus on his own the next day.
"The day after that, he was waiting at the bus stop all by himself,” Lane revealed. “He got on all smiles and talking to me the whole time, so he is doing much better now.”
In a larger sense, Lane said that she hopes the simple tale reminds others that the smallest acts of kindness can often have the biggest impacts in other people’s lives.
“You don't have to say anything, but just to show someone you are there," she said. "Makes a big difference in someone's day."
Proud mom Amy, meanwhile, is glad that her young son was able to face his fears head-on, and that people like Lane are looking out for others in their community.
“I love that people in my community are kindhearted and Izzy is definitely that,” the mother told Fox 5.
In the days since, Johnson’s photo of the emotional back-to-school moment has since been shared by the Augusta Police Department, racking up more than 1,200 likes and more than 220 shares on Facebook.
The image also touched many commenters as well, who described the picture as "beautiful" and "awesome."
“Thank you so much Izzy!!! It definitely takes a village to help out with our youngest students,” one user wrote.
“Bless your heart and thank you for taking such good care of the kids,” another agreed.
“Thanks to all that keep our children safe and loved every day,” one chimed in.
Reps for the police department, too, gave Lane a shout-out for her exceptional service.
“The compassion we see every day in our teachers, bus drivers, custodians, administration, food service staff, and paraprofessionals is truly admirable,” officials for the department wrote online. “We are so fortunate to be able to partner with these people!”