The kind act of a bus driver in Belfast is being praised across the Internet, by 70,000 people and counting.
College student AnnaMarie McDaniel was riding the 10H line Tuesday night, when the bus made an unscheduled stop in the pouring rain. She saw the driver called to a homeless man on the side of the road, and offer him a bag with a winter coat and food in it. The man initially refused, but then accepted the bag after the bus driver insisted.
AnnaMarie was so touched by what she saw that she wrote a note on Facebook to TransLink, the Northern Ireland transport authority. The note has since gone viral, with thousands praising the driver, Paul Doyle, and his act of kindness.
“On the bus home from university there, absolutely miserable wet and cold night,” she wrote.
“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," she said.
"The bus man driving the 10H that I was on stopped the bus beside the man, and called him over.
"He then handed him a big red plastic bag, and told him that he was hoping to see him today - as 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,” she wrote. “Couldn't believe how kind the bus driver was, such a thoughtful act. A little bit of kindness really can go a long way.”
On the bus home from university there, absolutely miserable wet and cold night. I get the same bus every Tuesday and...Posted by AnnaMarie McDaniel on Tuesday, November 10, 2015
The driver representative for the Unite union, Michael Dornan, told the Belfast Telegraph that Doyle, who has been a bus driver for 20 years, has been completely bowled over by the reaction.
"Paul is a laid back, easy-going, shy person. He never intended for this to spread the way it has and if truth be told he is a bit embarrassed by it," Dornan said.
"Paul had noticed this young lad wearing flimsy little clothes and decided to do something about it. He gave him the coat, some bread and milk and a fiver.
"The man refused to take the bag at first but Paul told him he expected to see him wearing it the next time he passed in his bus.
"That's the humor of Paul. It's just another day in the life of a bus driver in the city."
He added that the union drivers would be supporting Belfast’s homeless for Christmas this year.
"Our members have been noticing an increase in the amount of homeless on the streets.
"They are the forgotten people of Belfast and we want to do something to help them."
According to a 2014 report the homeless rate in Northern Ireland is higher than anywhere in the UK, with 5.7% of all adults experiencing homelessness within the five years prior to the study.