North Canaan bus driver making a difference in 1 girl's life - WFSB 3 Connecticut

North Canaan bus driver making a difference in 1 girl's life

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NORTH CANAAN, CT (WFSB) -

With schools not in session Monday in honor of Memorial Day, bus drivers will be among those getting some well deserved time off.

It's no secret they work hard, wearing all kinds of hats with their students each day.

On Friday, Eyewitness News honored another of Connecticut's beloved bus drivers, Cathy Bakula from North Canaan, who has brought a whole lot of love to a little girl named Sasha McCue.

The brief bus ride home is one of the highlights of kindergartner Sasha's school experience. Sometimes, she said, she even gets an extra trip around the block.

"She thinks she's winning the lottery when stuff like that happens," said her mother, Jess McCue. "She comes back with the biggest smile on her face."

Sasha, who has cerebral palsy,  lives close to school, but gets a bus ride home in the afternoon.

"She has sensory overload, so we just do the afternoon route that was set up specifically with Cathy," Jess McCue said.

According to Jess McCue, the practice has a purpose.

"They say kids with special needs don't get enough of the stimulation and socialization and they're trying to set that up as much as possible," she said.

Bakula plays an important role in making Sasha's life positive. 

"You can hear around that corner, them coming around that corner, even with the windows up," said Jess McCue. "They're singing something in there."

Bakula also has Sasha's favorite books ready.

"I usually keep them on the seat and she'll look through them," Bakula said.

North Canaan Elementary School Principal Rosemary Keilty told Eyewitness News Bakula is "wonderful" with Sasha.

"That's truly Cathy's talent to know, to anticipate the need," Keilty said. "And I think that's why the children feel comfortable with her."

Leslie Sheldon is operations manager for the bus company.

"For Cathy to take that extra time without being asked, told or anything? That's just awesome," Sheldon said. "It really shows a driver that really cares about her students."

Sasha certainly knows she has a friend in Bakula, and Bakula knows that she has a special friendship with Sasha. 

"I cannot have a bad day when Sasha gets on the bus," Bakula said. "My day is bright. And I hope to make hers the same."

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