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Kind bus driver, kids' visit cheer injured boy

The chaotic tones of a busload of children singing Jingle Bells pierced an otherwise quiet afternoon Thursday.

"It's not Christmas! It's not Christmas!" shouted 8-year-old Cory Zarcone, his knees scabbed and his legs bruised. It is not that Cory didn't appreciate the gesture to cheer him up, but he found the whole thing a little bizarre for early November. Still, it was the thought that counted.

The children were visiting Cory at his house on Pomeroy Road, three days after he was injured in an accident and taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

A motorcycle ran into Cory while he skated near his home late Monday afternoon. By Thursday, no charges had been filed against the motorcyclist.

Despite fears of head and pelvic injuries, Cory escaped with cuts and bruises. His mother said wearing a helmet probably saved Cory from more seriousinjury.

Still, his classmates at Suncoast Elementary were concerned about Cory's well-being.

So his school bus driver, John O'Grady, decided to bring the kids by Cory's house after school Thursday.

"I wanted to give them a little lift, you know, pick them up a little bit," said O'Grady, after leading thechildren through what he said was the only song they knew. "They were coming on the bus asking where Cory was and if he was okay. I thought this would be a good way to show them, and maybe help Cory feel better."

Cory's mother, Donna, said she was touched by O'Grady's thoughtfulness. "Isn't he something?" she said. "He's just so wonderful."

The concern is nothing new for O'Grady, a retired New York police officer who has driven a bus for seven years. Other parents on the route said O'Grady makes sure he introduces himself to everyone and often yells out school advisories, such as reminders of coming holidays or shortened school days, as he drops off children.

"I just try to help out any way I can," O'Grady said.

Cory sat on a lawn chair at the edge of his driveway, a big smile on his face, while the children sang and gave him "get well soon" balloons. When the children were done, Cory thanked them and gave themadvice:

"Always wear your helmet when you Rollerblade," he said, hugging a stuffed monkey named "Monk-Monk."

"That way if you get hit, you don't kill yourself."