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'It came from the heart': Ontario woman offers homeless man job on the spot, now working at farm


An Ontario woman’s decision to hire a man experiencing homelessness to work on her farm on a whim is showing the power of kindness and the ability of community to change lives.

Three weeks ago, Danielle MacDuff said she saw Brian Bannister reading a book and collecting change in her town of Newcastle, Ont. She decided to strike up a conversation, she said,.They ended up talking for 25 minutes before she invited Bannister to work on her farm the next day.

Brian Bannister on MacDuff's farm (Beth Macdonell/CTV News Toronto)

“It floored me. It just came from the heart with her and I got to thank her every day,”Bannister told CTV News Toronto Wednesday.

Bannister said he was living in a shed when he was approached by MacDuff. The 60-year-old said he has overcome addiction, survived abuse and lost two wives, one in a crash, the other to cancer, and over the past two years had “given up”. Then came Danielle’s offer.

“He’s so kind, compassionate, he’s amazing with my children, my animals,” MacDuff said. “And his willingness to help me on the farm is very, very much appreciated.”

Every day, MacDuff, Bannister, and the other staff clean stalls, haul hay and care for 200 animals including goats, cows, horses and dogs. They work morning and afternoon shifts and take a rest in the middle of the day. MacDuff said she drives Bannister back and forth to town.

Since offering the work, MacDuff has gone even further with her efforts to help Bannister. She got him his first haircut in two years, a phone, and access to some provincial financial support.

She also involved the community in helping raise money for him to have food, clothes and a hotel room to sleep. They are now even eyeing a permanent room for him to live nearby.

At the time of publication, a GoFundMe organized for Bannister by MacDuff had amassed nearly $5,000 in donations.

Brian Bannister can be seen getting a haircut. (Facebook)

“It’s overwhelming. I can’t believe anyone would care for me this much,” Bannister said.

Aside from the work, the pair is enjoying the camaraderie and their new friendship.

“He has no idea what this has done for me,“ MacDuff said.

@ctvnewstoronto 60-year-old Brian Bannister was unhoused, overcame addiction, survived abuse and lost two wives, one in a crash, the other to cancer. Over the past two years, he says he gave up. But then he met Danielle McDuff in Newcastle, Ontario, who did more than just offer him a job on her farm. She also got him his first haircut in two years, a phone, access to government supports and an a rare camaraderie made possible through selfless acts of kindness. #ctvnews #ctvnewstoronto #toronto #ctvtoronto #news #explore #foryou #fyp #ontario #canada #gta #newcastle #farm #homeless #unhoused #actsofkindness #goodsamaritan #canadiankindness #goodnews #goodnewsstory #goodnewstiktok #newstiktok #kindnessmatters #actsofservice #homelessness #goodpeople #gooddeeds #canadiantiktok ♬ original sound - ctvnewstoronto

“If we could get everyone off the street ideally that would be my one wish, but it takes a lot of people to come together and that is what has happened for Brian. I think that’s why we’ve come so far in such a short time.” 

MacDuff and Bannister can be seen above. (CTV News Toronto) Top Stories

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