Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.

Simple acts of kindness can go a long way. That is exactly what happened when an Ontario woman decided to sit down and chat with a homeless man – a conversation that would change both of their lives.

Brian Bannister, a homeless man from Newcastle, Ontario, was sitting on the street corner, reading a book and collecting loose change from passersby. Danielle MacDuff decided to strike up a conversation with him and was incredibly moved by his story.

Bannister has led a terribly challenging life. He survived childhood abuse and trauma and has overcome addiction after losing two wives – his first wife in a car accident and his second wife to cancer. The trauma continued to pile up and caused Bannister to give up hope.

Until he met MacDuff.

A Conversation Leads to a Job Opportunity

After hearing his heartbreaking story, Danielle MacDuff invited Bannister to come and work on her farm the next day. “It floored me. It just came from the heart with her and [I’ve] got to thank her every day,” Bannister told CTV News Toronto, adding that he used to do farm work 40 years ago.

Each morning, MacDuff picks up Bannister and gives him a ride to MacDuff’s farm where he helps her family to feed and care for 200 animals including horses, dogs, goats and cows.

“He is kind, compassionate, and amazing with my children, animals and staff.” Said MacDuff. “Some people need to just talk.” And that’s what they’ve been doing every day since.

Their friendship has continued to grow, which led MacDuff to set up a GoFundMe to help Brian get back on his feet, which has since raised over CAD$10,000 and helped him to get his first shave and a haircut in two years, a hotel room, food, clothing and a new phone.

MacDuff has also helped organize provincial financial support for Bannister and is working to help him obtain permanent housing, a far cry from the uninsulated shed he had been living in.

MacDuff Told the World Brian’s Story

In her GoFundMe request, MacDuff wanted to let the community know about Bannister’s plight:

Hello, my name is Danielle and I live in a small town in Newcastle, Ontario. We have a homeless man here who sits beside a garbage can, out front of Shoppers Drug Mart and reads.

He has a hat on the ground in front of him for spare change, he never asks for a dime and is always very appreciative of what he receives. This man’s name is Brian and he is 60 years old, he loves when people take the time to stop and chat with him and ask about his day.

I took the time one day and I knew from that very moment, I needed to help him get back on his feet. I offered him a job on my farm and he started the next day. He has come every day and is always ready to be picked up, he gives 100% all day with no complaints.

I can’t afford to pay much so I reached out to our community. What a response of encouragement and support we have received, it fills my heart. I really want to raise enough money to get Brian in a nice warm place he can call his own and rebuild his life. It is so cold out there and he lives in a small shed with no insulation. We have managed to get him a hotel room for two nights but tomorrow he will be back outside after work. Anything helps, even if you share this.

Both Brian and I are so very grateful for all he has received so far. Thank you and God bless you all!

Compassion Will Change the World

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

Bannister has found himself overwhelmed by the kindness of the people around him. “I can’t believe anyone would care for me this much,” he said.

Compassion and kindness can go a long way and make a true difference in the lives of a community when we come together to help one another.

When in doubt, just be kind.

KEEP READING: Non-Verbal Young Girl Meets a Friendly Homeless Man  — They Share an Interaction That Touches the World