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Abilene ISD students get special lift to school from Kris Kringle

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:15:06 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 23 2013 09:40:39 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Every year on the last day before Christmas break, one very jolly bus driver channels his inner St. Nick to spread some holiday cheer.

Abilene native Danny Wallace, 62, has been driving buses for the Abilene ISD for four years.

Before the sun rose last Friday morning, Wallace had already donned his Santa suit and practiced his "Ho Ho Ho."

He began his route and his mission to make kids smile.

"The excitement on their faces," Wallace said. "A lot of time I get a lot of sweet hugs. You know, I just really live it. It's a good time of the year."

"Of course, the younger ones still really believe in Santa and I'm Santa driving them to school," Wallace said.

Wallace will even sing Christmas carols with the little ones on the way to school, but the high schoolers are a bit more reluctant.

"My older group, that's not cool," Wallace said, laughing.

While they won't sing along, the big kids still get a kick out of riding with Kris Kringle.

On his route, Wallace typically picks up children who have special needs.

If you ask him why he does what he does, the jolly old soul answers with a tear in his eye: "Well, I really love kids and the kids I have are really, really special," he said.

"When they learn something, you can see it on their face...that big pop...you know, I've always told everybody that they're God's angels in the making, that's who they are," he added.

But who Wallace is, is what makes this ride so special.

Wallace is a veteran of the United States Army and Navy and also devoted 18 years to the Taylor County Sheriff's Department.