Amanda now has a chance at a happy life thanks to the compassionate care of a complete stranger. After 30 years, she finally found a way to say “thank you.” Amanda Joseph, from New Bedford, was abandoned at a young age. Her mother, who was addicted to drugs, frequently left her alone with her younger sister for extended periods of time. The girl’s father was unknown. Amanda was assigned to a preschool at the age of four, where she was bused every morning.
Katie Neves, the driver, noticed Amanda walking to school. No one seemed to care about her; no one combed her hair in the morning, didn’t collect her briefcase, and didn’t put breakfast in it. Katie didn’t know everything about the girl’s life, but she felt sorry for her and started secretly helping her. She agreed with Amanda that she would pick her up before the other students, and she dressed her, braided her braids, and fed her before the shift began.
Katie went to a thrift store after seeing how poorly the girl was dressed.The woman couldn’t help the entire family, so when she saw a one-year-old child waving at her through a broken window one morning, she knew it was time to call the authorities. The guardianship authorities removed Amanda and her younger sister Crystal. The girls spent the next six years in a foster home with wonderful, caring people.
Cassandra, their biological mother’s other daughter, was born during this time. When a woman was diagnosed with a fatal disease, she refused parental rights and gave the baby away, pleading with the guardianship authorities to find a family that could care for all of her daughters at the same time. There was, thankfully, one. Amanda, 10, Crystal, 6, and Cassandra, 5, found themselves in a new home that became their home.
Because the foster parents had no experience dealing with children who had experienced psychological trauma, they had to rely on trial and error. But they gave the girls the most important thing: love and security.Amanda grew up, married, and had two children: Evelynn, a girl, and Remy, a boy. She moved to Somerville with her family and began attending a women’s aid group organized by a local church.
She told the story of her childhood and her memories of her kind angel, Katie, who changed her life so drastically. Other women offered to assist Amanda in finding Katie. The story was shared on Facebook, and Amanda received dozens of messages from strangers, whom the school bus driver also assisted once. Katie and Amanda reconnected thirty years after their last date. It was a very touching moment, and both women were overcome with emotion.
Amanda was able to thank Katie personally for the care she provided her as a child, as well as for the inspiration she has become for many people. Katie was moved by her words, despite the fact that she didn’t believe she had done anything special.
She had no idea how much she had influenced Amanda, or that it was because of her that Amanda went to work at school and now tries to give special attention to children from low-income families. However, Katie claims that she always saw her ward as a special girl who needed a chance and was happy to give it to her.