A young cancer patient on Staten Island who was struggling to get a bus ride to his pre-K class last week now has a ride to school, after NY1 reported on his dilemma. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed this follow-up report.
As four-year-old Safwan Hassan slept Tuesday morning, his mother, Afroza Hassan, was up long before sunrise, trying to reach someone from the Department Of Education or school bus company. It was not easy.
Safwan is battling cancer and has spent much of his life isolated from other children. He is now able to attend pre-K, but a bureaucratic bungle left him without a ride, even though legally the Department Of Education is supposed to provide bus service for the little boy.
NY1 first reported last week that Safwan's mother, who doesn't drive, had been ferrying her son to and from school in a cab, since her husband needs their car for work. Then she waited all day at the school for Safwan to finish, to avoid too many expensive rides back and forth.
As soon as NY1's story on Safwan's bus troubles aired, people began calling NY1 to see if they could help. They offered to drive Safwan and his mother to and from school.
DOE officials also started to respond, eventually telling the family the bus would be there, first Monday, then Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, her husband took the day off, even though the Hassans were still waiting for confirmation.
"Nobody wasn't answering. I was a little nervous," said Afroza Hassan.
Just as the Hassans were about to give up, suddenly, the bus arrived.
"We came down and put Safwan on the bus. I wanted to get on the bus and see how they sit, but I'm not allowed. Then we followed the bus, actually," Afroza Hassan said. "Me and my husband actually followed the bus. I wanted to make sure Safwan did not cry or anything doesn't go wrong."
After his latest cancer treatment, Safwan stopped speaking. His parents have spent years in and out of hospitals with him. So on Tuesday, they were nervous and proud as any parent would be, or maybe more so.
"It makes me so happy. It makes me so happy that he is doing something on his own actually, without me, because I'm always with him," said Afroza Hassan. "He needs a little space from me now. So yeah, it feels so good."