Bus driver gives his shoes to homeless man

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CBS News

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 22 at 11:35 PM

WINNIPEG (CBS News) -- A bus driver in Winnipeg, Canada, brought his passengers to tears when he stopped his bus to give a barefoot homeless man the shoes off his feet.

Winnipeg transit bus driver Kristian Doubledee was doing his job Tuesday, just like he has done every day for the past four years. But, for the 38-year-old who was born in Boston and raised in New Brunswick, Canada, this day was going to turn out differently.

Denise Campbell, a passenger on Doubledee's bus, recalled, "Suddenly, the bus driver yelled, 'Hey buddy' - and he got off the bus and went out to a man."

That's when Doubledee took off his shoes and handed them to the homeless man who had been walking barefoot.

Campbell said, "One of the ladies sitting in front of me got up and asked him or said to him, 'That was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.'"

So moved by what she had seen, Campbell wrote about it on a community news blog. From there, it went viral, and the story of the bus driver who literally gave a stranger the shoes off his feet has people everywhere talking - and speechless.

The Winnipeg homeless shelter heard about the story and has been looking for the man who received the shoes, so far, without luck.

Floyd Perras, executive director of Siloam Mission in Winnipeg, said, "I think the good news about this story is that there was someone in need, whether they're down on their luck or they were homeless or whatever - somebody took the opportunity to make a difference in that person's life"

Asked what made him stop and help the man, Doubledee said on "CBS This Morning" that he'd seen the man before and wasn't in a position to help him, but that day, he had the opportunity. He explained, "Usually when I get up in the morning, I've got a few rituals. One was if I see somebody in need or with a disability I ask the Lord...to help them out, help them along. And the second day I'd seen him...I was pulling up, the light was red, downtown...and I'd seen the gentleman walking across the street and in his bare feet. You could tell, you know, being two days that he was sore. So I just put on my four-ways and pulled the bus over and asked the guy, I said 'Where's your shoes? He said, 'I don't have any.' I said, 'If I give you a pair of shoes will you keep them?' He said 'Yes,' so I gave him mine."

Doubledee said he didn't know his passengers saw what he did - he simply wanted to finish his route. Asked if he wanted attention for his act of kindness, he said, "No, no, not at all."

Sam Katz, mayor of Winnipeg, who also appeared on "CTM: Saturday" said Doubledee's act of compassion raises the bar to a brand new standard. He said, "It should make us all, you know, think about what others are going through and trying to give somebody a hand up. Winnipeggers are known for their compassion. We're the highest in volunteer and giving. What Kris did is phenomenal. It's amazing. Everybody is talking and thinking how they can do more for others as well. He's a hero in my eyes, I'm proud to be his mayor."

Doubledee said he hasn't seen the man since he gave him his shoes, and downplayed what he did as something others would do. He said, "There's thousands of us work at Transit and each one of us would have done the same thing."

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