"I got some sweet kids and I get really attached to them... they were really appreciative," he said.
Five years into his job as a school bus driver, Wayne Price knew how bad weather could impact a child's day in Montevallo, Alabama. While children in other cities might celebrate school delays and closures, for a majority of students at Montevallo Elementary School, it meant that they'd go hungry in the morning. Therefore, when he received a call in the early morning of December 11, 2018, informing him that the school would be opening two hours later than usual due to icy conditions and fog, Price came up with a plan to make sure the 50 students he drives to school would get something to eat that morning.
Often overlooked but some of the hardest working & caring staff members . Transportation drivers are the first smile a child sees and sometimes the last each day. Great story :Alabama elementary school bus driver buys McDonald's breakfast for students| https://t.co/Ief86ydjzn pic.twitter.com/1sVudKHPk3— Kyle Berger (@edtechcto) December 16, 2018
After hanging up the phone, Price made a detour to a local McDonald's. "When I got to McDonald's, I asked the manager, 'Can you turn around 50 biscuits in 15 minutes and can you give me as good of a deal as possible?' He gave me a dollar deal and we just turned it around," Price told TODAY Food. "They really hustled with other customers in the store and I walked out with a box load of biscuits for my kids."
Deserves a nice Christmas Bonus this year!— t w e a k🤺 (@tweakatweet) December 19, 2018
"When the kids got on I said, 'So, what do ya want? Sausage? McMuffin?" he added with a hearty laugh. "I got some sweet kids and I get really attached to them... they were really appreciative. I dunno. I just love my kids. I got lots of fist pumps, lots of high-fives, lots of 'Love you Mr. Price,' lots of 'Thank you Mr. Price.'" A spokesperson for Montevallo Elementary School revealed that as per data from the 2018-2019 school year, about 75% of the school's students participate in the National School Lunch Program. The federal program aims to make sure that children from low-income families will get breakfast and lunch for free or at a reduced price during the school day.
Wonderful story! When I was a child, many decades ago, our bus driver bought us ice cream sandwiches on the last day of school. I never forgot it ! Alabama elementary school bus driver buys McDonald's breakfast for students when ice delays school opening https://t.co/RScjnAwi4F— Nancy Mahony 😷 (@nancy_mahony) December 16, 2018
Price won hearts across the nation after the school posted about his generosity on Facebook. "Mr. Price, one of our bus drivers, truly demonstrates the spirit of Christmas! On Tuesday, when school was delayed due to icy roads and we weren't able to serve breakfast, he purchased biscuits from McDonald's for his entire bus of students," the post read. "What a kind act that our students will forever remember! Thank you, Mr. Price, for making a lasting impact in the lives of our students."
The school also shared a message they received from Washington state. "I just wanted to reach out to you guys. I was reading the news and came across a wonderful story in regards to a bus Driver who goes by Mr. Price. Please let him know that this has gone viral all the way to Washington state," the message said. "Mr. Price, you are such a great person for doing this and ensuring the well being of those students while in your care. If I had extra money or was a millionaire, I would pay your house off, buy you a new car and send you on vacation."
"You did a very good deed which was expensive I'm sure. These kids are not mine but I still can't thank you enough. It's people like you that help turn lives around daily and show that there are great people out there these days. You be safe out there, I really hope a good deed comes your way for what you have done. True man," it added. However, Price credited his act of kindness to the Christmas spirit. "I'm driven by faith and Christ," he said.
A McDonald's spokesperson later revealed that the U.S. division of McDonald's sent Price a handwritten thank you note with a $100 Arch Card and a $1,000 Visa gift card to reward his kindness. Jason Black, the restaurant's owner and operator where Price bought his students breakfast, also gave Price coupons to feed his class again at the beginning of the 2019 school year.