Jacksonville, Florida — No matter what side of the bed she wakes up on, Arletha Sherman, a school bus driver from Jacksonville, Florida, knows her day will always get better.
"I mean, I may have a bad morning, but once I see her, it's different," she said.
The turning point is a 5-year-old girl named Anna Hopson. Anna was born with a rare, progressive, neuromuscular disorder. She's constantly in and out of the hospital.
"The fact that she has so much going on in her life, but she's always happy — and she's always bubbly — and she's always, 'Hey, Ms. Sherman!' And then we just started communicating," Arletha said.
The parents say they first noticed this bond about a year ago. Anna had missed school one day because she was sick. But that afternoon, the bus came to their house, anyway and the driver came to the door, just checking to make sure Anna was OK.
"I thought, 'Well, she didn't have to do that,'" said Kathleen Hopson.
But Kathleen said that was nothing compared to what happened next. In April, For Anna's birthday, Arletha bought her a princess dress and a tiara and decorated the whole bus to celebrate.
"All she could do was just take her hands up and say, 'All this for me?' It was just so overwhelming," Arletha said.
Then, just recently, Arletha bestowed on Anna one of the greatest honors a little girl can receive. She invited her be the flower girl at her wedding. For Anna's mom, this act of kindness was almost too much to bear.
"I want her to have as many experiences as she can," she said.
Kathleen said she always hoped to see her daughter in a wedding. So that night, that sight, especially seeing Anna dancing with her dad, was such a gift. Any bus driver can take a kid from here to there. But only a special few, can deliver a dream come true.