ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Metro Bus Operator Darnell Barton to proclaim “Darnell Barton Day” in Erie County. On Friday, October 18, Mr. Barton was driving the ”20 Elmwood” route and had just picked up a group of students at McKinley High School in Buffalo when he noticed a young woman who had climbed over a guardrail over the nearby Scajacquada Expressway and was leaning out over the Expressway as traffic passed underneath. Mr. Barton stopped his bus and opened the door to ask the woman if she needed help, and when receiving no response, left the bus after notifying his dispatch and walked towards the woman. Mr. Barton then put her in a bear hug while speaking to her and helping her climb back over the guardrail to safety as help arrived.
“Mr. Barton’s selfless act of compassion that afternoon made all the difference, as his quiet heroism saved a life and showed others that a simple act of caring can impact lives in powerful ways,” said Poloncarz. “It is an honor to join him today and to proclaim ‘Darnell Barton Day’ in Erie County. Our community is a better place because of people like Mr. Barton, who do the right thing as a matter of course and are quiet heroes, all around us, every day. He exemplifies the spirit of the community when we say we are the ‘City of Good Neighbors’.”
Darnell Barton added, “I am honored to be here today as a resident of the City of Buffalo and Erie County. In life, there are things you have to do and things you get to do. That day, something I got to do saved a life. I thank God for that opportunity and hope that other people will also get that opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s life.”
Mr. Barton’s heroic actions received international attention, with media coverage from CNN, NBC, and ABC, as well as interview requests from as far away as Europe. He was heading to work following the presentation of the proclamation today.