Viral Photo Shows School Custodian Comforting Student With Autism

Fourth-grade student with autism is comforted by school custodian.
Esther McCool laid down next to a frightened child. Hollie Bellew-Shaw/Alvin Independent School District

The cacophony of noise inside the school cafeteria just got to be too much for Kenlee Shaw, a fourth-grade student with autism. 

The overcome child laid on the floor and covered her head with a blanket. That spoke to the heart of custodian Esther McCool, who curled up next to Kenlee and placed her hand on the girl's back.

A photo of that sweet moment was posted by Kenlee's mother, Hollie Bellew-Shaw, on social media, where of course it blew up, garnering scores of comments about the custodian's compassion.

"All schools should be so lucky to have their own angel on campus," the mother wrote on her Facebook page. "Feel free to share so she can get all the appreciation & thanks she totally deserves."

And share people did, with hundreds posting the photos to their own accounts. 

"Sometimes you just need to take a break!" reads a blurb on the Facebook page of the Alvin Independent School District. "When Kenlee, a Passmore Elementary 4th grader, was having a rough day, Mrs. Esther, a custodian at the school, got on the floor with her and just held her," the district's statement said. 

"Kenlee's mother, Holly Bellew-Shaw, posted this picture on social media to show the compassion and love Alvin ISD employees to the students," the post said. 

From the online comments, McCool, who has worked at the elementary school in Alvin, Texas, for the past six years, is a very popular campus worker.

"She is so sweet and always comes over and to talks to my kiddos!" wrote one mother on Bellew-Shaw's site. "Esther is the best!!!! She is amazing and Passmore is so lucky to have her!" said another.

Kenlee's mom also works at Passmore as a teacher's assistant. "Kenlee adores Mrs. Esther. She always greets my daughter with kind words and a hug, which is so special to her."

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