Buffalo, New York, transit bus driver Darnell “Big Country” Barton, says that any one of his co-workers would have done the same thing. He saw a woman standing outside the safety rail of a highway overpass bridge and thought she looked distraught. The bus’ surveillance camera shows Barton talking on the phone, getting off the bus and walking over to the woman. He puts his arms around her and helps her back over the railing. They sit together on the ground and talk.
How did the transit bus riders, mostly high-school students, react to this interruption and delay in their day? Applause are heard in the background at the end of the video.
Of the students, Barton told the Buffalo News, “They were great. They sat there quietly. It was an encouragement to me. Oftentimes we look at young people and we forget we were young.” He added, “As each of them got off the bus, they shook my hand.”
Later Barton described what happened in detail:
Barton called his dispatcher to report, and while on the phone heard a frightened McKinley student on the bus.
Student: “I don’t want to see someone die.”
Brought back to the reality of the situation, Barton talks to the woman.
Barton: “Do you need help?”
He is able to get close enough to get his left arm around her, then his other.
Barton: “Do you want to come on this side of the guard rail now?”
They walked away from the guardrail and sat on the sidewalk.
Barton: Where are you from?
No response. She looks up, then down.
Woman: “You smell good.”
Barton later said he was relieved that the woman was no longer so detached.