School Bus Driver Crochets Thousands of Winter Hats for her Students

Miss Patty gives the gift of warmth with handmade hats.

Feb 17, 2023


School Bus Driver Crochets Thousands of Winter Hats for her Students | Miss Patty gives the gift of warmth with handmade hats.

School bus drivers have to keep the kids safe on their way to and from school. But one driver, Patricia Reitz, goes way above and beyond. She has made it her mission to give each child a handmade hat to keep them warm in the winter.

Miss Patty – the name students, teachers and parents call her – has given away more than 7,000 hats in the nearly three decades she worked for the Clarence Central School District in New York, reported WGRZ.

“She cares. She cares about her students,”  third grade teacher Deborah Bosworth told WGRZ. “Any student that I've had that has been on Miss Patty's bus gets a hat, and they also get a friend. Miss Patty is one of the favorites.”

How it all began
So how did this tradition get started? According to Reitz, it began when she took up crocheting, she would work on items while she waited for students to get on the bus afterschool. “The one boy gets on the bus, and he goes, ‘what are you doing?’ I said ‘I’m making a hat’. He said, ‘ that would be great going down ski slopes at Holiday Valley.’ I said, ‘ what color would you like?’ That started everything," said Reitz. And it snowballed from there.

Reitz specializes in Santa hats, but she will make other hats too. The hats are two colors that the students choose and always have two tassels. “It makes me feel great that I can give them something to wear because a lot of the kids don't have the Santa hats,” she said.

Keeping the tradition going
Reitz buys all the yarn but she also receives  gift cards from families especially around Christmas, according to The Laughing Otter. This is a gift that comes from the heart.

Despite the amount of work involved, Reitz has no intention of stopping. In fact, she told The Laughing Otter that she already began working on next year’s hats. “I’m going to do it until I can’t do it anymore,” she said.

While other school bus drivers will purchase hats and gloves for their charges, a homemade gift crafted with love brings warmth even during the coldest winter days.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.