NKY bus driver goes extra mile for student with special needs

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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CARROLL COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - It happened one day in January when Joseph Lumbrix arrived at the house of a student soon under his care and did something both simple and extraordinary.

Lumbrix was new to the Sullivan family—both Aiden Sullivan, a child with special needs, and Aiden’s grandmother and caretaker, Anita Sullivan.

“He’s a drug baby,” Anita said of Aiden, who struggles with communication and suffers from seizures. “There could be major issues throughout his life because of it.”

But Lumbrix is a retired principal. He’s also a professed optimist with a deep well of empathy, the sort of person who believes it when he says, “If we can touch one life, then we can change the world.”

So he knows a thing or two about how children like Aiden cope—or fail to cope—with stressful events.

One of those events was on the horizon, and Lumbrix had everything to do with it. The Sullivan family found out after Christmas that Aiden’s bus driver and bus monitor would be changing. The idea of that transition caused tension in the household before it even occurred.

“It really concerned me,” Anita said. “I thought, ‘Oh boy, here we go.’”

Lumbrix learned of Anita’s concerns and took it upon himself to alleviate them. He came to the Sullivan family’s door that January day with his sights set on friendship.

“I just walked up, and they received me like family,” he said.

Neither Anita nor Aiden knew Lumbrix was coming. “I just said, ‘I want to get to know Aiden, and could I read a story to him?’” Lumbrix recalled.

Anita says she was shocked. “I’m like, ‘Wow! You’re awesome, Joe,’” she said. “For somebody to do that, it takes a very special person.”

Lumbrix spent all afternoon at the Sullivan household, reading to Aiden and gaining his trust.

“He is a boy who is so energetic, and he’s a bit hard to control sometimes, and there’s perhaps a frustration to some,” Lumbrix said. “But I have learned and observed that people like that have the greatest potential to make a difference in the world.”

Anita says the transition to Lumbrix has been successful, and the family is forever grateful.

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