Texas school custodian lies on floor beside girl with autism to comfort her

ALVIN, Texas (KTRK/CNN) - A school custodian in Texas displayed powerful amounts of kindness when she went beyond her job description to help comfort a 9-year-old student with autism.

Kenlee Shaw, 9, is a fourth grader at Passmore Elementary School in Alvin, Texas. Mother Hollie Bellew-Shaw says her daughter, who has autism, had a rough day because the noise in the cafeteria was bothering her.

The 9-year-old lay on the school’s stage and covered her head with a blanket to shield herself from the noise. Soon, Esther McCool, a custodian at the school, was there to comfort Kenlee. The woman got on the floor with the little girl and held her.

When 9-year-old Kenlee Shaw, who has autism, became overwhelmed by the noise in her school cafeteria, custodian Esther McCool comforted her.
When 9-year-old Kenlee Shaw, who has autism, became overwhelmed by the noise in her school cafeteria, custodian Esther McCool comforted her. (Source: Facebook/Alvin Independent School District/KTRK/CNN)

Kenlee’s mother posted a picture of the moment to social media to show the compassion and love the school employees show for their students. The Alvin Independent School District also posted the picture.

"A kind word just goes so far, and it can fix what you didn't see, you know?" Bellew-Shaw said. "We've been in situations out in public where people literally say the rudest, meanest things.”

Kenlee and Mrs. Esther have had a special bond for about three years, according to the girl’s mother.
Kenlee and Mrs. Esther have had a special bond for about three years, according to the girl’s mother. (Source: KTRK/CNN)

Kenlee and Mrs. Esther, as she calls her, have had a special bond for about three years, according to the girl’s mother. The custodian even got an invitation to Kenlee’s birthday party.

"I love Mrs. Esther because you are very kind to me,” Kenlee said.

Bellew-Shaw says McCool holds a special place in her heart, as well as her daughter’s. Whenever Kenlee sees the custodian, she runs up to her and gives her a big hug, she says.

"The minute I saw them together it was very apparent their love for each other,” Bellew-Shaw said.

The school district noted that sometimes it only takes “a kind word, a hug and a little compassion” to make a difference in a child’s life.

Sometimes you just need to take a break! When Kenlee, a Passmore Elementary 4th grader, was having a rough day, Mrs....

Posted by Alvin Independent School District on Friday, September 13, 2019

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