Homeless Man Saved From Bitter Cold by Female Driver, Who Let Him Ride Bus All Night

May 5, 2019 Updated: May 11, 2019

Whether it is small, unplanned acts or regular volunteering, helping  those in need brings happiness not only to us but to those around us as well. To make a difference in somebody’s life, you don’t have to do incredible things. Very often, it is those small and simple acts of kindness that have far-reaching effects.

Helping others always came as second nature to Natalie Barnes, a driver with the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS). Since being hired by the MCTS in 2016, she has already received three commendations for outstanding service.

Time Magazine and the hit television show ‘Ellen’ are each recognizing MCTS Driver Natalie Barnes for her kindness, remarkable compassion, and #MCTSExcellence! Read more here: tinyurl.com/y8c2agkn

Posted by Milwaukee County Transit System on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

In November 2018, Natalie was honored for helping a homeless man and bringing about positive change in his life.

It was a cold evening in October when she was on shift when a man named Richard stepped aboard. Security cameras with audio recording on the bus caught their entire interaction. The footage was later uploaded to YouTube, where Natalie has also received much praise.

Natalie had met Richard previously but this time made an effort to know him better, especially when he stood by the bus’s front door and sadly told her, “I’m officially homeless now.”

“Why, what happened?” she asks, surprised, looking right back at him.

She learns that Richard had been homeless for a week and that his home had been condemned.

Posted by County Executive Chris Abele on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It was cold outside, so Natalie invited Richard to stay on the bus to stay warm.

“Well, I’m on the bus until 2:44 a.m.” she tells him. “Do you want to stay with me?” “Yes…” Richard responds.

When it was break time, Natalie approached Richard in the mid-section of the bus and talked to him some more. Natalie even fed Richard, who declined her earlier offer but accepted her next one. Feeling warm and fed, Richard was also feeling loved.

“I don’t know what to say but to say thank you,” Richard tells her. “I’ll get it back to you.”

“No you won’t,” says Natalie. “Don’t you worry about that. I want to help you.”

Natalie later reached out to a friend at Community Advocates, who was able to get Richard into a temporary shelter. The two have become staunch friends since then, and Richard calls her regularly to check up on her.

“He calls me his little guardian angel. I’m happy to say that he’s progressing well,” Natalie reveals.

What a great #MCTSExcellence event this morning. Milwaukee County Transit System driver Natalie Barnes had a passenger…

Posted by County Executive Chris Abele on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

In a statement posted on the transit agency’s website, County Executive Chris Abele said, “Natalie’s kindness, compassion and respect for this man in need are what MCTS Excellence is all about.”

He further added: “Natalie demonstrated what we all need to do to fight homelessness: to look out for each other, to care for each other and to work together. I’m deeply grateful for Natalie’s actions.”

Watch: County Executive Chris Abele honors MCTS Driver Natalie Barnes for helping change the life of a homeless man in need.Full story: https://tinyurl.com/y8mfaqrf

Posted by Milwaukee County Transit System on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

According to the transit service, helping others while on the job is not something new to Natalie. She often carries extra peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for drivers who are in need of a meal.

Our world would no doubt become a better place if everyone followed her example.