‘Don’t you worry’

Bus driver hailed for selfless act that makes her the epitome of Thanksgiving spirit

Bus driver Natalie Barnes was commended by leaders of the Milwaukee County Transit System for helping a homeless passenger get food and a place to sleep during her shift. It was her third commendation. (Milwaukee County Transit System)

As we pause to celebrate another Thanksgiving, here is a story about a selfless woman that will inspire a sense of thanks in all of us. Milwaukee County Transit System employee Natalie Barnes was driving her late night bus route when a regular passenger named Richard boarded. She waved to him and asked how he was doing, only for him to admit to her that he was now “officially homeless” after his house was condemned.

“The house that you were staying in?” asked Barnes. “The same one that had the fire?”

“Yeah,” Richard replied. “So I’ve been out on the streets for a week.”

Barnes then offered to buy Richard dinner — an offer he declined — but when she asked him whether he’d like to spend the night riding on the bus as she performs her route, he agreed to do so. Richard rode with Barnes for six hours before she took her next break, after which she called a friend to secure Richard a stay in a temporary shelter. Barnes then bought Richard some food and asked him to keep her posted on his wellbeing.

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

“You’re welcome, and no you won’t,” she insisted. “Don’t you worry about that. I want to help you.”

Milwaukee County Transit System employee Natalie Barnes was seen helping a homeless passenger named Richard. (YouTube / ABC News)

Barnes has been officially commended for her actions by the transit agency — her third such commendation for outstanding service in her two years working for the transit system. In an interview during the ceremony, Barnes said that she saw Richard at least once a month, and that after the recent bus ride they had exchanged phone numbers so they could stay in touch.

“We talk every couple of days and he thanks me every time he talks to me for helping him,” Barnes said. “He calls me his little guardian angel. I’m happy to say that he’s progressing well.”

During her route, she said, she noticed “a lot of people who are looking in garbages for food.”

“They’re underdressed,” she said. “They don’t have anywhere to go … They need help. They should have basic necessities like food and like clothing just to survive.”

Watch video of Barnes below.

Read the full story at ABC News.


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