A photo of a janitor comforting an overwhelmed fourth-grader, who has autism, has gone viral for showing how a little compassion can change a child's entire day.
On September 3 (local time), Hollie Bellew-Shaw's daughter, Kenlee, a student at Melba Passmore Elementary School in Alvin, Texas, "wanted no part of being in the cafeteria," according to Ms Bellew-Shaw's Facebook post.
Instead, Kenlee went to a stage at the school with her blanket and laid down, away from the noise and commotion of her fellow students.
Instantly, Mrs Esther, a cleaner at the school, laid down beside her.
“When Mrs Esther passed through she just beelined for my girl to comfort her without hesitation,” Ms Bellew-Shaw told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Ms Bellew-Shaw said that for the last three years Kenlee and Mrs Esther have had a special bond.
“Whenever they see each other, Kenlee runs to her like she’s seeing her the first time,” Ms Bellew-Shaw, who is a paraprofessional for the district, said.
“Mrs Esther always has the biggest hug and kind words for my girl,” she added.
Ms Bellew-Shaw said seeing Mrs. Esther's kind act made her feel "overjoyed" and "comforted."
“While I work at the school, it’s very comforting knowing that if I wasn’t there that she would still get that kind of love and attention that she needs in situations like that,” Ms Bellew-Shaw shared.
The mother said that she often finds it difficult having a special needs child.
“It is hard sometimes finding the right people to be around, who have genuinely good hearts and who truly care for your child,” she said.
Fellow community members commented on Mrs Esther's kindness, adding that Passmore Elementary is "blessed" to have her.
"This warms my heart! I hope Mrs. Esther realises how much her actions mean to that little girl," one person wrote on the school district’s Facebook post.
"Esther always has that great warming, caring smile to greet all of our Passmore children and staff every day,” a fellow paraprofessional at the district wrote.
According to Ms Bellew-Shaw, Mrs Esther, whom she describes as a shy woman, is shocked by all the attention she is receiving.
When interviewed by their local news station, Mrs. Esther told Ms Bellew-Shaw that she didn't want to be interviewed but would like to sit with her and Kenlee.
“[Mrs. Esther] said that ‘her heart has no language,’” Ms Bellew-Shaw tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“To me, that just means that her actions speak volumes that she doesn’t have the words for,” she said.
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