Off with a smile

‘Crazy Bus Stop Mom’ spreads morn­ing cheer

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— Just be­fore 8:30 a.m. Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Candice Thompson and her two daugh­ters emerged from their house on Craig­town Road and pre­pared to make the short walk to the bus stop.

But the three only got a few feet be­fore Thompson’s

PORT DE­POSIT

at­tire started turn­ing heads.

“What are you?” a boy yelled from across the street when he spot­ted them.

“A nun!” Thompson shouted back, do­ing a small dance in her cos­tume as the boy laughed.

It’s just one of the many goofy dis­guises she’s worn to take her chil­dren to the bus stop each morn­ing for the past two years. What started out as just don­ning silly hats, has evolved into full cos­tumes and even a

Face­book page (Crazy Bus Stop Mom) to show off her var­i­ous looks.

But through­out, Thompson’s goal has been the same: send­ing kids off to school with a smile.

“I just like dress­ing up and be­ing funny,” she said. “The kids love it and they go to school happy.”

Thompson gets most of her cos­tumes from dis­count stores such as Dol­lar Gen­eral and Wal­mart and they run the gamut from Lady Gaga (“I think that scared the kids”) to a Ze­bra one­sie (“That was su­per easy to get into”) and even a bright pink wig (“That’s al­ways a fa­vorite”).

The nun cos­tume, how­ever, is caus­ing con­fu­sion. Thompson had wor­ried about this, which is why she, and her two youngest daugh­ters Leyla, 9, and Abi­gail, 6, spent some time the night be­fore franti- cally googling how to turn a nun cos­tume into a pen­guin cos­tume to no avail.

The kids might be too young for “Sis­ter Act,” Thompson mused.

“I’m giv­ing you all home­work. Your home­work to­day is to go watch ‘Sis­ter Act,’” Thompson shouted to the group of kids that were now mak­ing their way to the bus stop.

They just laughed. Most of the kids are used to Thompson’s an­tics by now and also know her from Bain­bridge El­e­men­tary School, where she works part­time in the cafe­te­ria, of­ten quizzing the kids who come through the lunch line on what cos­tume she wore that morn­ing.

As the school bus’s ar­rival drew closer, Thompson be­gan flip­ping through her phone, which is hooked up to a hand­held speaker, for an ap­pro­pri­ate morn­ing song. When the bus pulls up, Thompson stands by the door giv­ing out fist bumps and high fives and danc­ing in her nun cos­tume.

Af­ter her kids’ bus leaves, she usu­ally sticks around for a few min­utes to wave to the other buses that drive down Craig­town Road.

“All the bus driv­ers know to wave to me,” she said.

Many of the stu­dents wave, too, and Thompson said her two youngest daugh­ters also en­joy the cos­tumes and even help her dress up in the morn­ing. Though she’s told them that she’ll stop at any­time if they don’t like it any­more, Thompson fig­ures she has un­til they fin­ish el­e­men­tary school be­fore they’re em­bar­rassed by her cos­tumes.

Her old­est daugh­ter is now in sixth grade and is less ap­pre­cia­tive of her mother’s morn­ing an­tics.

“If I ever came up to the bus stop with her, she would dis­own me,” Thompson said with a laugh.

But Thompson hopes other par­ents might hear about her morn­ing rit­ual and start do­ing the same thing at their kids’ bus stops. She’s al­ready got at least one per­son who hopes to carry on the tra­di­tion.

“Leyla wants to do this for her kids when she grows up,” Thompson said.

CECI WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Candice Thompson dressed as a nun to greet kids at the bus stop on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CANDICE THOMPSON

Candice Thompson dressed up as a ‘Pi­rate Star’ to take her kids to the bus stop.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CANDICE THOMPSON

Candice Thompson poses in a Ze­bra one­sie with her daugh­ters Alexis and Leyla.

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