Bus Driver Becomes Hero For Helping Students With Reading & Receives Kind-Hearted Gift(video)

Reading stands out as a cornerstone of a child's educational journey, a tool that shapes their growth. Despite teachers' best efforts to make reading engaging, some students grapple with maintaining interest due to various factors. Often, the challenge extends beyond the classroom, hindering consistent reading practice.

Meet Herman Cruse, a 55-year-old school bus driver from New Jersey, who intimately understands this struggle. His connection with the plight of young readers unfolded when he overheard a student on his bus frustrated about an incomplete reading assignment. The cause? The child's parents were stretched thin attending to his siblings.

In a heartening twist, Cruse graciously offered assistance. "I told him, 'Listen, I have some free time, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to come to the school and read with you,'" shared Cruse in an interview with The Washington Post.

With the teacher's nod, Cruse made a delightful entrance into the classroom the following week. As they delved into the world of words, an intrigued observer sparked the interest of another, creating a ripple effect. Before long, the entire class eagerly sought Cruse's storytelling magic.

Described as "goofy, silly, and super positive," Cruse became a shining presence at the school. Teacher Alex Bakely shared, "He’s a bright light at our school who makes every child feel loved and heard — they’re all drawn to his energy."

Since then, Cruse has become a fixture at Middle Township Elementary #1 in Cape May Court House, New Jersey. Despite his role as a school bus driver, he dedicates time twice a week to help Bakley's class of 18 students and another class with their reading. Additionally, he tutors first and second-graders on a third day. Cruse's love for reading traces back to his childhood, recalling how he devoured a World Book Encyclopedia purchased by his mother from A to Z.

"I was literally a voracious reader, and it just expands your mind. And I just impart that gift to the kids," he shared with Today. Despite childhood aspirations to drive buses, he is now a father of five, having driven school buses for over three decades.

Reflecting on his impact, Cruse expressed, "It just felt right, and it’s a joy to see the kids get excited when they learn to sound out words. They feel a sense of pride. I love how reading opens up a new world for them. I feel lucky to see that firsthand."

In a heartwarming surprise, Today host Jenna Bush Hager organized an unannounced ceremony to honor Cruse. Overwhelmed with emotion, he was met by his students outside the school building, expressing gratitude for his volunteer efforts. He received a framed dedication, "Mr. Herman’s Kids Corner," marking a space in the school for his reading lessons. Additionally, a publishing company pledged to donate a thousand books for the school, Cruse, and his students to enjoy, creating a lasting legacy of literacy.
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