Tracy Dean, a 47-year-old bus driver from Utah, stepped up to the plate after an 11-year-old student, Isabella Pieri, lost her mom to a rare illness two years ago. As soon as she realized that Isabella had to get ready on her own each morning before school, she decided to give her a helping hand by braiding her hair.
"I can tell she was struggling with her hair," Tracy explained to ABC News. "We usually do two French braids first, and once in a while she just wants one braid. I also taught her how to brush her hair."
And that was a huge relief to Isabella's father, Philip Pieri, who admits that he didn't have a clue what to do with his daughter's hair after his wife passed away. "She'd get mad at me for pulling her hair," he said. "I didn't know how to do it. One day [Isabella] came home and it looked beautiful. I call her my princess and she looks the part, she plays the part and her confidence is way up, which is what I've been intending."
According to KSL TV, Isabella was the one to ask Tracy for help with her locks, and the idea quickly caught on among with her peers. Now, Tracy is tasked with giving many little girls their 'do of choice before hitting the books for the day.
While Tracy loves to be Isabella's designated hair dresser in the morning, she has a deeper reason for offering her up her skills. "Seven years ago, I found out I had breast cancer, and that's one of the things that went through my head — who is going to take care of my little ones? Not that my husband couldn't do it, but you know, that's what mom's do. They do their kids' hair."
As for Isabella? She's exceptionally grateful for having Tracy by her side in the morning. "It makes me feel like she's a mom pretty much to me," Isabella said. "And it makes me excited for the next day to see what she does."