Sometimes, all we need is a feel-good story to cheer us up, and this one about a bus driver and a young boy’s newfound friendship will surely make your heart smile.
On her July 6 route, Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) driver Shamika Anderson’s bus broke down near Howell and Ohio. It was the worst time for a vehicular malfunction as it was 92 degrees outside at the time. Naturally, Shamika felt frustrated.
A block away, 10-year-old DJ Fromme saw the bus driver with her head down, so he approached her to help.
“I take it she was having a bad day, so I wanted to cheer her up and make her heart feel warm,” he said.
DJ sat with Shamika on the sidewalk as she waited for another bus to arrive. That’s when they opened up and talked about their lives. Shamika learned about DJ’s hardships – from not knowing who his real parents were to his guardian’s recent brain cancer diagnosis. But despite everything he’s going through, the bus driver noticed that the boy “didn’t seem to be sad about anything” and tried his best to keep a positive attitude.
You might think it’s strange for two people who just met to talk about things like that, but DJ had his own reasons for confiding in her.
“There was something about (Shamika) that I felt like I could trust her,” he explained.
Shamika gave him some advice, and as a thank you, DJ taught him how to ride his skateboard. In the footage captured by the bus camera, the boy can be seen holding Shamika’s hand as she rode the skateboard.
The bus driver was so touched by DJ’s kindness, and she wanted to give him something in return. Before getting back to work, she had an idea. She wrote her number down and asked DJ to give it to her family. She wanted to ask if it would be okay if she dropped off some goodies for them.
“I thought about it all day and I even told my kids, like sometimes we don’t be grateful for the things that we have and we have a lot. Here he is, just having a skateboard and he made the best of it,” she said.
During their conversation, DJ mentioned that he popped the tires on his bicycle, but he hadn’t gotten to repairing it yet. So, Shamika went to the store to buy her friend a brand new bicycle. Two days after their meaningful interaction, she dropped it off at his home. The sweet gesture left DJ and his family in disbelief.
“My heart just started racing and I was like, I couldn’t speak at all,” the boy said of his reaction upon seeing the bicycle.
Peggy Olbrantz, D.J.’s guardian, said they were “absolutely stunned” by Shamika’s efforts.
“A total loss for words,” Peggy Olbrantz, DJ’s guardian, said. “I was so stunned, it was the kindest, most generous thing I’ve ever heard of, I mean it was unbelievable.”
According to Peggy, the last few days have been filled with a lot of happiness and, of course, bike riding!
Now that their feel-good story has made headlines, Shamika hopes that it will inspire others to practice kindness. None of us ever knows what someone else is going through, and DJ is the perfect example. If it weren’t for their unexpected talk, Shamika wouldn’t even know about the boy’s hardships because he looked so happy.
“Everybody has a different story but it’s how you take it and run with it,” she said.
The two friends will continue to keep in touch, and this Sunday, DJ is coming to church with Shamika’s family.
Watch the video below to learn more about this feel-good story of the day.