Photo via: Facebook/ Lake Highlands Elementary
Kind-hearted Texas elementary school bus driver, Curtis Jenkins, has been buying small gifts for children who ride his bus for years. To mark his seventh year driving for the Richardson Independent School District this year, he decided to do something bigger and purchased each child on his route a Christmas gift.
On the last day before Lake Highlands Elementary’s winter break, more than 50 children on Jenkins’ bus route found his bus filled with wrapped presents for each of them. Jenkins had previously asked each child about something that they were hoping to receive for Christmas. What they shared helped him to then purchase presents such as bicycles, headphones, and various school supplies to make each child's Christmas wish come true.
In an effort to serve as not only a bus driver but also a mentor to the children on his route, Jenkins created a system of “bus bucks” to reward kids for receiving good grades, keeping his bus clean, and being kind to their fellow riders. He sings songs to the children to start their mornings off positively and admittedly tries to teach them life lessons during his time spent with them each day. “Every morning we say, ‘Listen, love and understand each other,’” Jenkins shared in an interview with HuffPost.
Jenkins and his wife, along with a fellow bus driver and a parent who heard about his plan, reportedly bought and wrapped around 70 gifts to carefully pack his bus to greet the children eagerly awaiting dismissal from school to start their holiday breaks. Lake Highlands posted a photo of his packed bus on Facebook and the post quickly captured the internet's heart. Lake Highlands PTA president, Jennifer Wilcox, shared that she believes that Jenkins’ kind gesture came from a genuine place and was not simply to garner media attention. She also shared that their PTA plans to acknowledge Jenkins’ kind and generous acts in a special way very soon. In an email to HuffPost, Wilcox wrote: "We are proud to have Curtis Jenkins as part of the LHE family!"
After purchasing turkeys around Thanksgiving and now Christmas presents using monies that he and his wife save throughout the year a little at a time, Jenkins is looking forward to executing his next heartfelt gesture at the conclusion of this school year.
"It doesn’t take money, it takes discipline," Jenkins said, referring to how he would save a little bit from each paycheck. "You can have anything you want with a little discipline."
While his ultimate goal is to create a youth mentorship program, until then he’ll continue to uplift and inspire the Lake Highlands student body with his numerous examples of authentic kindness and love.