He will never forget the day he looked at his daughter and decided to do something drastic. He looked at his beautiful girl with her long hair. His hands closed around the handle of the clipper and he began shaving her hair off.
She was not happy about the boyish crew cut that she now sported but he didn’t have any other choice really. At least, for now, he had solved that problem.
Philip Pieri and his 11-year-old daughter lived together in Utah. He has to leave for work very early every morning so his daughter, Isabella, has to prepare for school and get on the bus herself every morning. As far as he knew she always did.
He didn’t think too much about it when she brought home a late slip. However, when she started bringing home more over the next two weeks Philip became worried.
Isabella’s home life had been happy during the early years of her life. She’d grown up in a loving home despite the fact that they didn’t have much money. Philip always worked hard to ensure that Isabella would not want for anything.
No matter what, his wife Patrica always assured Philip that everything would be ok. Neither of them knew what life had in store for them, however.
Sadly, when Isabella was only three years old Patricia received a dire diagnosis and passed away after battling her disease for the next six years. Philip was naturally heartbroken.
However, instead of resigning himself after this great loss, Philip dedicated himself to working hard and always being there for young Isabella. Even so, this did mean that there was no one who could help Isabella prepare for and get to school in the mornings.
Isabella became very independent after losing her mother. Not only did she wake up early every morning, but she would also get herself ready for school. Things weren’t easy but she soldiered on.
It wasn’t long before two years had rushed by, and without the know-how or time, some things had passed by Philip unnoticed.
Then one day Isabella began to get warnings about being late for school every morning. Philip sat down with her and tried to find out what was going on.
Isabella, however, refused to talk about it, she didn’t want him to know the truth, so she quickly tried to change the subject. This behavior of Isabella’s really made Philip become suspicious.
Philip left work early one day and decided to see if Isabella really took the bus every day or not. He drove to the corner of her school and waited. She was about to come out and the bus had just pulled up to the school.
Isabella came out and boarded the bus with her friends just like she was supposed to. Philip watched until he noticed something strange.
He knew that things were difficult for his daughter since her mother had passed away. Isabella had changed and no one could blame her. It isn’t easy for a nine-year-old to lose a parent.
Lately, though, Isabella’s behavior had changed drastically and as the loving father that he was, Philip was becoming increasingly concerned.
That evening Philip sat down with Isabella and confronted her again. He started off gently by asking her whether she had problems sleeping and whether that caused her tardiness.
Isabella denied this. Then he finally asked her about the bus driver. Isabella’s eyes widened in surprise.
He asked her why she was being kept on the bus longer than the other children and whether that was what caused her to be late. Finally, Isabella broke down and told her father the whole story.
The driver had been holding Isabella back on the bus after all the other children had left the bus. Then she admitted that the reason had to do with Isabella’s hair.
As it turned out, after her mother’s passing, while Isabella could get ready for school, she struggled with her hair. This wasn’t news to him, however.
In fact, the father and daughter had argued about her hair numerous times until he had felt the need to take drastic steps.
He had tried as hard as possible to help untangle Isabella’s hair, but he didn’t know how to. “She’d get mad at me for pulling her hair. I didn’t know how to do it,” he admitted.
That’s when he decided to take drastic measures. He took the clippers he used to trim his own hair and used it to shave off Isabella’s hair.
After inspecting her shorn head in the mirror, Isabella was horrified when she saw what he had done. But she didn’t want to upset her dad. She knew he was trying his best.
It took two years to grow out again. When her dad suggested shaving it, Isabella refused. Then, they agreed on a compromise.
Instead of shaving Isabella’s head again, Philip took out a pair of scissors and cut half of the length off. But this didn’t solve the issue, and soon Isabella’s hair was matted and unkempt again.
She had no choice but to tie it up to try to hide it, until the day that the bus driver noticed…
Tracy Dean loved her job, and she loved children. When she saw that Isabella was struggling, she knew she had to step in. She saw that Isabella’s hair had been cut the night before and suspected that her dad had no idea how to style it.
She asked her to stay behind on the bus and whipped out a hairstyling kit from her handbag.
Soon, Isabella and Tracy’s hairstyling sessions became routine. Tracy would comb Isabella’s hair out every morning and plait it into a French braid. “I could tell she was struggling with her hair.
We usually do two French braids first and once in a while she just wants one braid,” Tracy admitted in an interview. But why did she do it?
At first, it was slow-going. It took a full week of 10-minute sessions for Tracy to slowly untangle Isabella’s hair. She had been slightly late for school on those days, but Tracy knew it was important.
She has four children at home — one who is almost Isabella’s age. But when Isabella began to open up about her mom, Tracy couldn’t hold back.
When Tracy heard about Isabella’s mom, she started to cry. Isabella was confused. But then Tracy revealed something about her past. She herself had had cancer, just like Isabella’s mom.
She knew she was lucky to have pulled through and was grateful that she could still be there for her children.
“I didn’t just survive for my husband or my children. I survived for these kids on the bus that need somebody to talk to or do their hair or whatever,” Tracy explained in an interview.
“I also taught (Isabella) how to brush her hair. She’d get on the bus and she’d say, ‘I brushed my hair. Does it look good? I’ll say, ‘You did awesome.’”
Naturally, when Philip found out about Tracy and Isabella’s morning routine, he was dumbfounded. Isabella didn’t want to hurt his feelings at first — after all, he had tried his best to untangle her hair.
But Philip is only grateful to Tracy. “One day [Isabella] came home and it looked beautiful. I call her my princess and she looks the part, she plays the part and her confidence is way up, which is what I’ve been intending,” Philip said.
Soon, the media caught wind of the heartwarming story and Tracy was hailed a hero, but she remains humble. “It’s just the way my mom raised me, to be nice to everyone—people who need a little love in their life.
I like to give all of the kids a chance—even the naughty kids,” she said.