SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (WRGB)- Sometimes the perfect Christmas gift comes from a place you’d least expect it to – say for example, your school bus driver.
In Saratoga County, Kelly Hayes, the driver of ‘Bus 423’ is giving out hand-knitted hats and pairs of gloves to kids that ride the bus with her every day. It’s a small gesture making a big difference in the Geyser Road Elementary School community.
“I just figured that for the kids for Christmas I would love to make each and every one of them a hat.” Hayes says. “That would be their gift and they’d be warm and cozy all winter.”
Only in her third year of driving a school bus, Hayes says she already considers it the most rewarding job of her life. She enjoys the special relationship with students she has at the bookends of their day.
“You build relationships with these kids to a point where you almost feel like they’re yours.” She says.
Hayes says she came up with the idea for hats after seeing some kids without them in the winter. Already knitting quite a bit while at home during the pandemic, she began making dozens of hats in her spare time. Eventually, Hayes says her own parents, so impressed by this gesture, decided to donate 40 pairs of gloves to go along with the hats as well. She says they tried their best to match the accessories with the color of the children’s coats.
“It’s really been emotional and overwhelming. I did not expect that to come out. But Monday mornings, picking up each kid and they all had their hats on, matching coats, and they were all excited I just got really emotional and overjoyed.”
Hayes says she hopes what she is doing inspires others to spread kindness any way that they can.
“It really felt like even though I gave, I received far more. Far more.” She says.