Children Kick Poorly Dressed Girl from School Bus, ‘You Stink!’ They Say until They See Her Photo on TV — Story of the Day
Children made fun of a poorly dressed girl they'd ride the school bus with, teasing her that she stunk. They were surprised to see her on TV one day, which changed how they saw her entirely.
Nikki was not like everybody else in the first grade. She was a lot shorter than her classmates and was frail and fragile.
Everybody in her class knew that Nikki only had her mother living with her and that they lived a poor life. Unfortunately, one day, things went from bad to worse.
Nikki would take the bus home every day as her mother worked two jobs to raise her. The bus driver, Mrs. Evans, was already used to Nikki riding the bus by herself and would expect her every day.
One day, Mrs. Evans noticed that Nikki looked very sad as she waited for the bus. She was dressed in old clothes filled with holes, runs, and stains.
"Good morning, Nikki!" Mrs. Evans greeted. "Are you alright?"
Nikki looked up at Mrs. Evans and smiled. "Good morning, Mrs. Evans. Yes, I'm fine," she said, getting on the bus. She was glad that someone spoke to her, as she was used to everybody else ignoring her.
As she boarded the bus, there were already several children inside. One girl, Martha Reeves, was a spoiled rich girl from the second grade. She spotted Nikki immediately and laughed at her clothes.
"Oh my gosh!" the young girl exclaimed. "Look at that scarecrow!" she said, pointing at Nikki.
Nikki looked down, ashamed at the sudden attention being placed on her. She quietly sat on her seat on the last row of the bus and cried.
"Where did you find these clothes? In the garbage?" Martha asked, going closer to Nikki's seat to tease her. As she got closer, she suddenly pinched her nose.
"Ew! You stink like a garbage bag!" she told Nikki. Martha's friends chimed in, pinching their noses as well.
"Do you bathe or even brush your teeth?" one said, laughing.
"You can't be serious. You can't go to school looking and smelling like this," Martha said, pulling Nikki from her seat. "Come on, go home! Get out of the bus and return to your filthy home," she said, tugging at her arm.
Nikki was in pain, but she didn't say anything. Instead, she quietly sobbed as the girls picked on her and tried to kick her off the school bus.
Then, suddenly, the girls jumped at a scream. "That's enough! Stop torturing this poor girl," she said.
Mrs. Evans heard everything and decided to stop the bus to stand up for Nikki. She walked towards the back as soon as she yelled and asked Nikki to sit in front, right behind the driver's seat.
After they were dropped off at school, Mrs. Evans could not stop thinking about the incident on the bus. She decided to find out why Nikki would show up to school in dirty-looking clothes.
So, after work, she dropped by Nikki's house. She learned the whole truth and was surprised at what she saw there. Mrs. Evans' daughter worked in a media company. She called her daughter and immediately told her Nikki's story.
The following week, Nikki showed up at the bus stop in ragged clothes. Martha and her friends covered their noses and whispered amongst themselves. Mrs. Evans shook her head, but she was glad that the girls no longer said anything mean to Nikki's face.
A couple of days later, there was a meeting at school for teachers, children, and their parents. Nikki and her mother did not show up. Mrs. Evans walked into the classroom and turned on the TV in the middle of the meeting.
One of the most-watched TV channels was airing a story about Nikki. It was shot by Mrs. Evans' daughter and picked up by the station.
When Mrs. Evans learned about Nikki's story, she realized that the whole country could learn a thing or two about how she lived. Despite being a small and frail girl, she had a powerful character that inspired the bus driver.
Nikki grew up without a father and had learned the value of independence. Nikki's mother fell ill, and insurance decided not to cover the treatment. So, as Nikki's mom was bedridden, she could no longer take Nikki to school, cook her meals, or clean the house.
Nikki took on the responsibilities of taking care of herself and her mother while her mom was sick. She cleaned the house, took out the garbage, cooked food for her and her mom, washed her own clothes, and fed her mom medicine.
After watching the show, Martha and Nikki's other classmates realized why Nikki's clothes were always tattered and dirty – she had been taking on responsibilities even before going to school.
The TV news glorified the small yet brave and strong Nikki. Mrs. Evans revealed the real reason why she decided to turn on the TV, addressing the parents in the room.
"Your children mock Nikki on the bus every day. Kids, I hope the show taught you how important it is to be kind to everyone we meet every day. Everybody is fighting a battle not everyone knows about, and it's best to be kind no matter the situation," she told them.
Since that day, nobody mocked Nikki ever again. The kids would always say hi first and treat her with kindness by offering her snacks and drinks on the way to school.
Martha and her friends also gifted Nikki with some of their dresses so that she could wear clean clothes to school every day. Their parents also pooled money so Nikki's mom could undergo surgery.
Soon after, the woman was able to return home from the hospital and begin working again. As they got home, they were surprised to see the director of the TV station waiting for them with a check.
"These are donations from the TV viewers moved by your story. We hope you use this to secure Nikki's future and better your living situation," the director said as she handed the check.
With the money, Nikki and her mom could secure her college tuition. They were also able to buy themselves a small new house and live comfortably.
What can we learn from this story?
- A Scottish proverb once said: "do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat." The children were quick to judge Nikki for how she looked, without realizing that she had been struggling to take care of herself while her mother was sick. It's important not to judge others quickly, as we never know what they're going through.
Share this story with your loved ones. It might inspire them and make their day.
If you liked this story, you might like this one about a school bus driver who found out one of the students riding his bus did not get off at the last stop for the reason that taught him a valuable lesson.
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