A Winnipeg Transit bus driver is being hailed a Good Samaritan after stunned passengers watched him give the shoes off his feet to a man who was walking barefoot on the sidewalk.

The Route 24 bus had entered downtown from the Unicity area on Tuesday morning when the male driver pulled over near Portage Avenue and Main Street, says passenger Denise Campbell.

"Suddenly the bus driver yelled, 'Hey buddy!' and he got off the bus and went up to a man that was basically dressed in fairly warm-looking clothes … he looked like he was in need," Campbell told CBC News.

"I didn't realize why he was talking to him until all of a sudden, the bus driver took his shoes off," she recalled.

"I looked down and realized the man had no shoes on, and it was really cold this morning."

The temperature in downtown Winnipeg was between 5 and 7 C on Tuesday morning, according to Environment Canada.

Campbell said she and other passengers on the bus were left speechless by the driver's act of kindness.

When another passenger asked the driver why he did what he did, he replied, "I couldn't stand seeing someone walking barefoot in this temperature like this," according to Campbell.

"You always hear, 'I'll give you the shirt off my back.' This man took his shoes off, gave them to a man that needed them, got back on the bus and continued to drive the bus," she said.

"It's unbelievable. It's amazing."

Bus driver commended

It's not clear if the man who received the shoes was homeless, but the head of a downtown charity that helps the homeless says the bus driver should be recognized for his remarkable generosity.

"There was somebody in need," said Floyd Perras, executive director of Siloam Mission.

"Somebody took the opportunity to make a difference in that person's life and help them move on with their day in a positive way."

Perras said it's great to see people finding innovative ways to help each other.

"People want to make a difference in this world. To some degree, the only thing they can think of at the time is to give them some clothing or maybe help them get some food," he said.

"It's the Good Samaritan, and this man was definitely a Good Samaritan."

Winnipeg Transit director Dave Wardrop issued a statement on Tuesday commending the generous driver, who was not identified.

"We have all been struck by the generosity and kindness of this Winnipeg Transit bus operator," Wardrop said in the statement.

"It serves as a reminder of the compassion and commitment demonstrated by City of Winnipeg employees throughout the community on a daily basis."

Campbell said hopes she will see the same bus driver on Wednesday so she can tell him how kind she thinks he is.