Mom praises school custodian for comforting 4th-grader with autism

A photo of a custodian comforting an overwhelmed fourth-grader, who has autism, is going viral for showing how a little compassion can change a child's entire day.

On Tuesday, 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 Bellew-Shaw's Facebook post. Instead, she went to the stage of the school with her blanket and laid down, away from the noise and commotion of her fellow students.

Instantly, Mrs. Esther, a custodian at the school, laid down beside her.

“When Mrs. Esther passed through she just beelined for my girl to comfort her without hesitation or even a second thought to have passed her by,” Bellew-Shaw tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Mrs. Esther has had a special bond with my daughter, Kenlee, for about three years. Whenever they see each other, Kenlee runs to her like she’s seeing her the first time,” Bellew-Shaw, who is a paraprofessional for the district, says. “Mrs. Esther always has the biggest hug and kind words for my girl. She holds a piece of our hearts for sure.”

According to Bellew-Shaw, 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,” Bellew-Shaw shares. “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.”

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 realizes how much her actions mean to that little girl," one commenter shared on the school district’s Facebook post. "She will always remember her kindness and understanding. Bless you Mrs. Esther for taking the time to show compassion."

A fellow paraprofessional at the district wrote, "Esther always has that great warming, caring smile to greet all of our Passmore children and staff every day.”

According to 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 on Monday, Mrs. Esther told 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,’” Bellew-Shaw tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “To me, that just means that her actions speak volumes that she doesn’t have the words for.”

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