Mom shares heartwarming photo of custodian comforting her autistic daughter

The mom said the Texas custodian deserves thanks and appreciation.

September 16, 2019, 12:22 PM

A sweet photo of a school custodian's simple gesture to comfort a young student without hesitation has warmed people's hearts.

Hollie Bellew-Shaw shared a photo on Facebook of Esther McCool with her daughter Kenlee, who has autism, when she became overwhelmed by the noise in the school cafeteria one day.

Ms. Esther, as she's become commonly known in her six years at Passmore Elementary in Alvin, Texas, joined the fourth grade girl who had laid down on the stage and covered herself with a blanket.

"She saw that the child was having a bad day and that the noise was bothering her so she just laid down with her," Rachel Moore, a communications coordinator at the Alvin Independent School District, told ABC News.

Kenlee's mom, who works as a special education paraprofessional at the school, initially shared the heartwarming moment, "to show the compassion and love Alvin ISD employees show to their students."

"We saw it and thought, 'this is so awesome.' We have amazing people that work for us and we wanted to make that known," she explained for why they shared the picture.

"Kenlee adores Mrs. Esther," Bellew-Shaw shared in her original post. "She always greets my daughter with kind words and a hug which is so special to her."

"All schools should be so lucky to have their own Angel on campus," she wrote, adding that others were welcome to share the post so Mrs. Esther would "get all the appreciation and thanks she totally deserves."

Custodian Esther McCool laid down with a student at Passmore Elementary School in Alvin, Texas.
Hollie Bellew-Shaw/Alvin Independent School District

The simple act of kindness and compassion made a huge difference to the child and has prompted a chain reaction of beautiful responses on social media.

Bellew-Shaw said Esther is the "sweetest individual in the world."

Many parents chimed in online sharing their own stories and writing things like, "Ms. Esther is the sweetest lady," "Love her" and "Thank you for being you."

The school has an Acquiring Social Development (ASD) Program, specifically designed for students who have been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder, who are at or near instructional grade level in academics, but who demonstrate a need for specialized instruction in a structured, consistent, peer group setting with emphasis on communication, socialization and generalization skills.