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December 15, 2016

Bus driver warms hands and hearts with good deed

UPDATE: Many of you enjoyed reading the story (included below) about Kennewick bus driver John Lunceford helping a student who was waiting in the cold without gloves and a hat. His act of kindness is just one of many examples of how all of our staff members look out for the well-being of our students every day.

"The story has reached almost half a million people around the world so far on social media and the response has been overwhelming," says Communications Director Robyn Chastain. "Everyone is wanting to know how they can help and the story is inspiring people to pay it forward in honor of Mr. Lunceford's good deed. Almost every national media outlet and entertainment show has contacted us wanting to retell the story."

We are encouraging those who want to help children in need with items such as hats, coats, gloves, and shoes, to donate to Kennewick schools through InvestED. Donations are matched so you will be doubling your donation:

And of course, the best way to show your support is by thanking your local school employees, whether they are bus drivers, teachers, paraeducators, secretaries, principals, custodians, and the multiple others who serve our communities.

ORIGINAL STORY: Our staff members have big hearts and one bus driver acted on his when he saw a student in need.

The student was crying when he boarded John Lunceford’s bus. Lunceford noticed how red the student’s exposed hands and ears were after he’d waited for the bus in the freezing temperatures that morning.

“I put my gloves on him and told him it’ll be OK, it’ll be OK,” says Lunceford, a U.S. Army veteran in his third year driving buses for Kennewick School District.

Right after dropping his bus full of students at school, Lunceford headed to a dollar store. He bought ten stocking hats and ten sets of gloves, in black or pink, and headed back to the school.

He didn’t know the student’s name so had an administrator help track him down. They found the boy in the library with his class and Lunceford handed a hat and pair of gloves to him.

“I’m a grandfather, you know,” Lunceford says. “No one wants a kid to suffer like that.”

The onset of winter weather means families need to send their students off each day wearing heavy coats as well as hats and gloves or mittens. Our staff are always willing to help families find any items they need.

The little boy won’t be the last student Lunceford helps out. He told all the students in the school’s library that if they were on his route and didn’t have hats or gloves, he’d take care of them.

“There was a little girl who said ‘I don’t have a hat,’ and I said I’ll take care of you, sweetie,” Lunceford says.