A BELFAST bus driver has been awarded for his random act of kindness after he stopped to give a homeless man a winter coat in the pouring rain.
Paul Doyle, a driver for Translink, was presented with the special award by the National Campaign for Courtesy – a British charity that recognises exceptional examples of politeness.
Based in the depot on Falls Road, Mr Doyle’s good deed was witnessed at the time by university student Anna Marie McDaniel, who shared the story on social media:
On the bus home from university there, absolutely miserable wet and cold night.
I get the same bus every Tuesday and there is always a homeless man that we pass. Today he was standing in the pouring rain, drenched to the skin in just a short sleeved t-shirt. My heart went out to him.
The bus man driving the 10H that I was on stopped the bus beside the man and called him over. He then hands him a big plastic bag and told him that he was hoping to see him today- he’d bought him a winter coat.
The man refused to take the bag, but the driver was adamant that the man take it as he had gone out and bought it for him. I have never seen a smile like the one on the homeless man’s face.
Couldn’t believe how kind the bus driver was, such a thoughtful act. A little bit of kindness really can go a long way
The post received an overwhelming response in the days after it was published in November, with over 72,000 likes and over 4,00 shares.
On receiving the award, Mr Doyle said: “It’s brilliant – I’m pleased I’ve made more people think about people in need out there. I’m blown away by the reaction – my passengers are still talking about it.
“I think it’s also strengthened the relationship between bus drivers and our customers. After all, we are an important part of community life, meeting dozens of different people every day – I think this small gesture has made more people warm towards us which is great.”
He was also recently presented with a Special Award from the Federation of Passenger Transport NI in recognition of his act of kindness.
His actions even inspired a Belfast radio station to launch a #clothesforchristmas campaign, which received thousands of donations for vulnerable people in need across Northern Ireland.
Paul Smith from the National Campaign for Courtesy said: “I came across Paul’s story while reading the Metro newspaper on my daily commute through London – just as his act of kindness went viral.
“It shows how even one simple act of generosity can be so powerful it touches the hearts of an entire nation and raises the profile of a serious societal issue.”