Arletha Sherman wanted to be sure Anna Hopson got to start her fifth birthday feeling like a princess.
As WJXT News reports, Anna is a pre-kindergarten student at Sabal Palm Elementary in Jacksonville, Florida. Anna suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the rare neurological disorder affects motor and sensory nerves in the limbs, resulting in weakness and muscle atrophy in the legs and arms.
Anna’s disorder requires her to use a wheelchair. So for the last six months or so, she has been assigned to Sherman’s wheelchair-accessible school bus.
Kathleen Hopson, Anna’s mother, told “Good Morning America” that Sherman does a good job of making the kids on her bus feel cared-for:
“Anna’s pretty independent and she’s been riding the bus without a parent since she was 3 years old. Arletha [Sherman] is an excellent bus driver and a very caring person. She loves all the kids that she drives and always goes above and beyond to make them feel safe and happy on the bus.”
About a week ago, the bus driver went above and beyond to help Anna celebrate her fifth birthday. Sherman decorated the bus with streamers and a banner, then gave the young girl a proper princess outfit to wear.
“Anna’s bus driver #wentallout to make Anna’s birthday special!” Kathleen wrote on Facebook. “This princess dress and tiara are gifts from her, she decorated the bus, and gave Anna cards, toys, and hair clips. Anna felt like a real #princess going to school this morning!”
Anna’s bus driver #wentallout to make Anna’s birthday special! This princess dress and tiara are gifts from her, she…
Kathleen says her daughter was delighted and surprised by the bus decor, asking, “Is this all for me?” when she saw it. Students on the bus later sang “Happy Birthday” to Anna as well.
Anna and Sherman have forged a sweet friendship. Anna will serve as a flower girl at Sherman’s wedding this summer. The bus driver told “Good Morning America”:
“She’s touched my heart. She never complains. She has the most beautiful smile and it inspired me to do something for her.”