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Monkey business is cheering up kids on bus
YOUNGSTERS have had their daily bus journey to school brightened up...by regular appearances in a shop window by a white gorilla.
Special needs pupils loved seeing the cuddly toy in window displays of Furniture Kingdom’s shop, in Benfleet High Road – and were upset when the shop moved the toy.
That was when Sue Bignell, who travels on the bus with the youngsters, contacted store manager Kevin Llewellyn.
Ms Bignell, who works for Access Anyone, based at Southend, said: “The kids all have special needs. We used the gorilla, which they named Josh, as a way of developing their observation skills.
“Then one day, it wasn’t there and the younger ones were extremely upset.
“The manager said he would be happy to put him back in the window and boy, did he live up to that!”
Since Ms Bignell’s call, youngsters have spotted Josh sitting at a table with a cardboard computer and keyboard, on a chair with a balloon and a party whistle, playing drums, having a cup of tea and reading magazine.
She added: “You name it, they have had the gorilla doing it!
“My co-worker and I went into the shop, thanked them for their effort and gave them a tin of chocolates from the kids.
“It has restored my faith in humanity. For them to take the time and trouble to do this every day is fantastic – a kind act from a bunch of people who don’t know us from Adam.”
Mr Llewellyn said he was just happy to have the chance to brighten the children’s day.
He added: “We didn’t realise the children had been looking out for the gorilla.
“When we found out, we were happy to put it back.
“It’s only a little window toy, but it’s lovely to put a smile on people’s faces.”
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