Every afternoon, the students riding on bus 7 in Arlington, Washington, receive warm waves from an elderly woman as they pass by her home, KING 5 reported. Known as “the grandma in the window,” she is a daily staple for this group of kids, as well as for the bus driver, Carol Mitzelfeldt. So, when one morning in September, the window was empty, the students on the bus were concerned and wanted to make sure their “grandma” was OK.
“It was kind of heartbreaking because she was always there,” Axtin Bandewerfhorst, a seventh-grader, told the news outlet.
Mitzelfeldt and the students she drives have been waving to the elderly woman in the window for about five years. When “grandma” wasn’t there, Mitzelfeldt went to her house to check on the woman, bringing a bouquet of flowers with her.
“I attached a note: ‘To the grandma in the window, we’re thinking of you. Love, the kids on bus 7 and bus driver, Carol,’” Mitzelfeldt said.At the time, neither the bus driver nor the students knew the real name of the “the grandma in the window.”
Mitzelfeldt learned from the elderly woman’s husband, Dave, that her name is Louise Edlen, she’d had a stroke a few days prior and was being cared for at a local rehabilitation center. The bus driver relayed the message to the students on the bus, who decided they wanted to take action and do something kind to make the 93-year-old feel better.
“The kids and I said too bad she can’t have something to look at when she can’t be at the window,” Mitzelfeldt said. “So we decided to take a picture.”
The students then posed for a photo of themselves waving out the windows of the bus, just as Edlen sees them each afternoon. Mitzelfeldt had the picture mounted on a large foam board, signed it on behalf of bus 7, and delivered it to Edlen at the care center. Though she struggled to speak because of the stroke, Edlen was able to tell Mitzelfeldt that she loved the children and they mean a lot to her.
Fortunately, last Tuesday, Edlen returned home. And fanfare awaited her — Mitzelfeldt and a large group of students put together colorful signs welcoming their “grandma in the window” back home, cheering from the windows and honking horns.
“I’ve told them, ‘this could be your grandma or grandpa — or even you someday,'” Mitzelfeld said. “‘Always treat people with kindness, and always treat people with compassion.'”