Darnell Barton, the 37-year old driver, was on his route driving high school students and other passengers when he spotted a young woman leaning outside the guardrail of bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway in western New York, reported local TV station WGRZ. Barton then stopped his bus to intervene, by gingerly approaching the woman, then grabbing her in a bear hug and then guiding her away from the precipice.
The billionaire real estate mogul, media personality and political upstart caught wind of the story as it began making headlines and going viral. And "The Donald" was so touched that he decided to send Barton a check for $10,000 for his heroism, without having met him. In publicly announcing the gift through Twitter, the 67-year-old Trump wrote:
The bus driver who saved the woman from jumping off the bridge was really cool, great guy. I'm going to send him $10, 000-he deserves it!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2013
Barton was busy driving his bus full of high school students and others on Oct. 18 and said he knew something was up when some of the students began crying. He also said that he was moved to act, in part, because he himself has experienced depression over his life. The Buffalo News says that Barton has yet to speak again with the 20-something woman, who has yet to be identified in reports.
"Let's just administer the grace that we would like administered to us," he told the newspaper. "We want a better world? We have to be part of it."
Upon approaching the woman his first instinct was to put his arms around her and hug her, Barton said. "I felt like if she looked down at that traffic one more time it might be it," he told The Associated Press. The woman was not open to a long conversation at that point, he said, but when he asked her if she wanted to be brought down, she said "yes." Barton was then aided in calming the woman by two others at the scene, who had been traveling behind the Barton's bus -- a corrections officer and another motorist, as others phoned for more help.
In bringing the woman back over the rail, Barton tried to distract her by asking the young woman basic questions about her studies. She was apparently charmed. He told WGRZ that she said, "You smell good." After the woman was taken from the scene by ambulance, Barton finished his bus route.
Trump's check was presented to Barton in a ceremony in the offices of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. And next up the bus driver is scheduled to be interviewed on the "Rachael Ray Show."