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CBS Local — A Utah school bus driver has taken on a second job of sorts after one student who lost her mother asked the driver for help.

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Isabella Pieri, 11, had to deal with the death of her mother due to a rare illness two years ago. Isabella’s father leaves for work early in the morning, leaving the young girl to take care of her own grooming needs before school.

“I originally just gave her a crew cut because I didn’t know how, and it was all tangled and I couldn’t get it out for anything,” Philip Pieri said, via

After seeing Tracy Dean braiding a classmate’s hair before school, Isabella asked the Alpine bus driver for help with hers. “You treat them like your own kids,” Dean said.

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Dean, a breast cancer survivor, added that she understands how hard it is for spouses and young children to cope with the loss of a parent.

“One of the things that went though my head — who is going to take care of my little ones? Not that my husband couldn’t do it, but you know, that’s what moms do. They do their kids’ hair.”

Dean now braids Pieri’s hair nearly every morning before she leaves the bus.

“It makes me feel like she’s a mom, pretty much, to me,” Isabella said.

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“Tracy didn’t have to step up, but she stepped up to help out, I was amazed,” Isabella’s grateful father added.