Winnipeg bus driver's kindness gets international attention
A Winnipeg Transit driver being hailed for giving his shoes to a barefoot man in the city's downtown earlier this week says he hopes his gesture will inspire kindness in others.
Kris Doubledee told CBC News on Thursday that he is shocked and amazed at the attention his act of kindness is getting.
It became public after some passengers on his bus witnessed the act on Tuesday morning. They were so moved they went to the media to get his story out.
The Route 24 bus had entered downtown from the Unicity area on Tuesday morning when Doubledee pulled over near Portage Avenue and Main Street, passenger Denise Campbell said earlier this week.
"Suddenly the bus driver yelled, 'Hey buddy!' and he got off the bus," Campbell said.
"I didn't realize why he was talking to him until all of a sudden, the bus driver took his shoes off."
Campbell said she and other passengers on the bus were left speechless by the bus driver's act.
When another passenger asked him why he did that, Campbell said the driver replied, "I couldn't stand seeing someone walking barefoot in this temperature like this."
The story got national attention but Doubledee, who has been on the job for four years and shies from the spotlight, was not easy to track down at first.
Going to New York City
His identity wasn't known in the original stories from Tuesday.
But that all changed on Thursday, and now Doubledee's phone is ringing off the hook with media requests, including some from major TV networks in the United States.
Doubledee said he has even been invited by CBS to be a guest on their morning show in New York City.
A CBS producer confirmed that Doubledee will appear on the show on Saturday along with Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, who is already in New York.
Doubledee said he did what he did because he'd seen the same man without shoes the day before and he couldn't bear to see him walking barefoot anymore.
"It was automatic. It was something that come to me and I could do something about it," he said.
"You know, [it was] something I could do. It looked like he needed the shoes more than I did. Anybody would do the same thing."
Maybe that gesture will inspire others to perform random acts of kindness, Doubledee said.
For the giving kind
If it motivates anyone to help someone in need, it's not necessary to give them the shoes off your feet, said Sean Goulet, executive director of Lighthouse Mission in Winnipeg.
There are plenty of things his shelter needs, and number 1 on the list is new underwear and socks.
"A lot of people that we serve are very transient; don't do laundry. And for hygienics, it's very key … don't give us your used underwear," he said.
Men's and women's jeans, sweaters and jackets are also appreciated. A call to the shelter can help direct the right items to those most in need, and save people a lot of unnecessary work, Goulet added.
Volunteers spend a great deal of time sorting through bags of items they can't use.
"Dress clothes, specifically for women — dresses — and for men the dress clothes, it's pretty, pretty useless for us actually."