A school bus driver in Dallas, Texas, won the acclaim of parents and kids when he surprised his students with Christmas presents he purchased with his own money.
Curtis Jenkins filled up his bus with gifts for the 70 students he shuttles home from Lake Highlands Elementary School on Friday, Dec. 21, just before school let out for winter break.
“When I opened that door, one of the kids asked me, ‘Are you Santa?’” Jenkins told NBC-DFW in a story published Sunday, Dec. 23. “Seeing those faces on the kids was more than anything I could ever do with the money.”
Jenkins set aside funds from each of his paychecks in order to make the gift-giving possible. He had the support of his wife, Shaneqia Jenkins, along the way.
“There was no hesitation,” Shaneqia says to the news station. “He’s always wanting to do something for the kids, he’s been talking about it for months.”
The week prior, the Jenkinses spent hours individually wrapping the gifts — including puzzles and small electronics — for the students. Ethan Ingle, 11, was delighted to receive his red earbuds. His mom, Katrina Clift, said the deed “makes me feel like I belong and I mean something to this community.”
Lake Highlands Elementary School PTA president Jennifer Wilcox said Curtis’ actions have inspired parents. One insisted on paying for a student’s bike, while another donated $100 for the gifts.
“We are just so thankful for his spirit, and his kindness and his generosity to the kids,” Wilcox says. “Thank you for being a wonderful example for all of us.”
The acts of giving hit home for the bus driver, who has been part of the Richardson Independent School District for seven years. He recalled getting a pair of socks from an aunt growing up.
“When you’re going to school and you have a hole in your socks, that new pair of socks meant something to you,” he said.
“I’m not at a job, I’m on a mission from God,” Jenkins says of his quest to give. “I don’t say anything about religion to the kids. I just let them know whatever they love is fine with me, just love somebody on the way.”