As winter nears, the temperatures drop day by day. For the folks who don’t have a place to call home, the frigid months can be the worst.
Thankfully there are more than a few good Samaritans out there with hearts to make a difference for those who are less fortunate.
A bus driver from Milwaukee is being praised for her above-and-beyond act of kindness. Not only did Natalie Barnes offer a warm place for a homeless man to spend his night, but she took extra steps to make sure her gift kept on giving.
According to Milwaukee County Transit System Barnes was on her evening shift driving the GoldLine when a man named Richard stepped aboard.
The evening of Oct. 13 was reportedly chilly, with a projected low of 32 degrees according to AccuWeather. Barnes had encountered Richard previously, but this time the driver took some time to get to know him better.
When she took her break, she learned Richard had been homeless for a week, forced to leave the place he’d been staying because it was condemned.
With no place to call home and temperatures outside too low to be comfortable, the homeless man asked Barnes if he could stay on the bus through the night. Watch their heartwarming encounter captured on video.
The video, originally posted on Facebook by the transit system, has been viewed over 100,000 times. One commenter noted “MCTS have some of the best drivers. The most kind and humble people in Milwaukee to be honest.”
“At some point in our lives, everybody needs help,” Natalie told MCTS. “I wanted to do what I could to help Richard in some way.”
So the pair shared the bus for the evening. Riders came and went, but Richard sat for hours, doing the only thing he could to keep warm.
Barnes even bought the man a meal during a layover and offered to buy him anything he needed from the Dollar Store the next day. “Now I don’t know what to say but to say thank you,” Richard said.
Of course, the night had to come to an end at some point. Soon Richard would be out in the cold again, still homeless, and still in need of a helping hand.
This amazing bus driver took it upon herself to make sure Richard was taken care of. She contacted a friend from Community Advocates, “the largest human needs advocacy agency in Wisconsin.”
That friend was able to find Richard temporary shelter at Autumn West Safe Haven until they can find him a more permanent setup.
Wow! What started as an all-night ride ended up changing this man’s life for the better. This does not mark the first time Barnes has helped a rider, either.
MCTS says this driver often packs peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so she has some to offer hungry riders. Is it any wonder she’s been commended by MCTS three times during her three years of service?
“Natalie’s kindness, compassion and respect for this man in need are what MCTS Excellence is all about,” County Executive Chris Abele said.
Excellence, indeed! No doubt Richard is truly grateful for this driver’s compassion and generosity. Her example is one we would all do well to follow.
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