ALPINE, Utah — Each morning, 11-year-old Isabella Pieri gets ready on her own. Her father leaves for work early, and her mother died after years of battling a rare illness.
Over the years, Isabella’s father has taught her to take care of herself, but there is one area that’s difficult for most dads: 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 said.
After the crew cut, Isabella took matters into her own hands.
For a long time it was a quick brush, pony tail and then off to school. But a few months ago, something happened.
Better yet — someone happened: Isabella’s bus driver, Tracy Dean.
“You can’t be shy, you’ve got to talk to them. You treat them like your own kids, you know,” Tracy says.
One morning as kids were getting off the bus, Isabella noticed Tracy fixing a classmates braid and got the courage to ask if she would braid her hair too.
Now, Tracy styles each girl’s hair almost every morning.
“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 mom’s do. They do their kids’ hair.”
“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.”
As we thanked Tracy for this special act of kindness, it was hard not to get emotional because what she’s doing is making a difference.
Isabella’s dad is noticing.
“Tracy didn’t have to step up, but she stepped up to help out, I was amazed.”
And Isabella’s teachers are noticing.
“I just noticed her head was a little higher that morning,” her teacher, Mrs. Freeze said, “and she had a little more of a step.”