Bus driver surprises student with autism with heartfelt sandbox gift on birthday

BEVERLY, Mass. (WCVB) - In a community near Boston, a student with autism has forged a special friendship with his bus driver, and a recent birthday gift only served to highlight their bond.

For the past five years, school bus driver Nancy Hall has been a reassuring presence for Logan Pearson, who has autism and is nonverbal. So, for Logan’s 19th birthday on Wednesday, Hall wanted to get him something special.

“You don’t be a bus driver for money. You be a bus driver because you care about kids,” Hall said. “He’s very much a part of my family. If you know me, you know Logan because he’s top of the conversation all the time. He’s amazing, and he makes me a better person just by knowing him.”

Hall found an idea online for a sandbox, in which the sand is replaced by crushed Cheerios. The gift was an instant hit.

“Logan loves to play in sand, but he also tries to eat the sand. So, make sand out of Cheerios, so that he can eat it. I mean, what could be better than that?” said James Pearson, Logan’s father.

Logan Pearson has gone through several bus drivers in the past, but Hall knows what works for him, especially jamming out to Eric Clapton, and is making an impact well beyond the normal role of a school bus driver.

“It’s emotional for me just because I know Logan is loved, and he’s never had a friend, not even one. So, for me that’s hard as a mom. It just meant more than Nancy will ever know to us,” said Cathy Pearson, Logan’s mother. “Not only keeping our son safe on the bus, but she’s a friend to him. We can tell he’s safe and loved by the person we would least expect.”

The Pearsons say they now plan to make Logan a larger sandbox full of crushed Cheerios this summer.

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