When a woman struck up a conversation with an Ontario homeless man, she didn’t imagine it would change his life forever.
After it became clear that Brian Bannister was a kind soul who had simply fallen on hard times, Danielle MacDuff offered him a job on her farm.
Bannister was living in a shed after a terribly challenging life that involved childhood trauma, overcoming addiction, and the death of his first wife, followed by the death of his second.
He said he had “given up,” but MacDuff’s offer revivified the man and brought the farm a pair of hands that are diligent at work and gentle with MacDuff’s children and her animals.
“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 with tears in his eyes, who added he used to do farm work about 40 years ago.
Every day he gets a ride to the farm where he helps MacDuff’s family care for 200 animals including goats, cows, and horses.
The friendship that grew over time between the two Ontarians led MacDuff to set up a GoFundMe to help Brian get back on his feet, which raised nearly CAD$10,000 and was able to help him get his first shave and a haircut in two years as well as a new phone.
MacDuff also helped organize some provincial financial support for Bannister.
“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.”