Richardson School Bus Driver Surprises Students With Gifts

"I'm not at a job, I'm on a mission from God"

On the last day before winter break began, students who ride Curtis Jenkins' school bus home from Lake Highlands Elementary School were treated to a special surprise. The bus was packed with gift wrapped presents -- one for each student.

"We talked about the things that they would want and I made a mental note of it and wrote it down," Jenkins said.

Jenkins originally planned to host a gift exchange. When his wife, Shaneqia, pointed out some kids may not be able to bring a gift, the Jenkins decided to buy presents with their own money.

"No hesitation," Shaneqia Jenkins said. "He's always wanting to do something for the kids, he's been talking about it for months."

Jenkins set aside a little money from each paycheck to buy puzzles, games and small electronics.

"Seeing the faces of those kids was more than anything that I could ever do with the money," Curtis Jenkins said.

One of the children who received a gift was 11-year-old Ethan Ingle.

"I really like them, they are awesome," Ingle said.

Ingle received a pair of red headphones -- his favorite color.

"He is the most amazing bus driver," said Ethan's mom, Katrina Clift. "He's always good to him and all the kids on the bus."

Clift said Jenkins is generous all year, recently buying her family a turkey for Thanksgiving.

"It literally made me cry. I hung up the phone with him, I went over to my husband and I put my head on his chest and I just cried," Clift said. "It makes me feel like I belong and I mean something to this community, especially to the people who love my children."

Jennifer Wilcox, Lake Highlands Elementary School PTA president, learned about Jenkins' gifts to students on Sunday. She said it's already inspiring families across the district.

"We are just so thankful for his spirit, and his kindness and his generosity to the kids," Wilcox said. "Thank you for being a wonderful example for all of us."

Jenkins said when a coworker learned that he was paying for all the gifts himself, she insisted on buying a bicycle for one of his students. He said another parent gave him $100 after finding out about Jenkins' idea.

Jenkins, who has worked for Richardson ISD for seven years, said he remembered being the child who didn't get much for Christmas.

"I had an auntie that would buy a pack of socks and she would give us all one pack of socks and wrap it," Jenkins said. "When you're going to school and you have a hole in your socks, that new pair of socks meant something to you."

Jenkins said his work is his calling and he hoped to show each child they have value and are loved.

"I'm not at a job, I'm on a mission from God," Jenkins said. "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."

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