Bus driver's charitable act inspires donations to appeal
It started when a benevolent bus driver offered a homeless man a coat, but little did he know his random act of kindness would open the floodgates of generosity from all over Northern Ireland.
Paul Doyle was rewarded last week for his kindness after he stopped his bus to hand the man a new coat, food and money.
The story went viral after a passenger on board posted the gesture online, earning Paul an award from the National Campaign for Courtesy for his "exceptional example of kindness."
The driver, who is based in the Falls Road bus depot in west Belfast, then joined forces with employer Translink, radio station U105 and Hastings Hotels to encourage people to donate clothing over December to help vulnerable people stay warm during winter.
But he could never have predicted how that one token of kindness would subsequently open the floodgates.
Since December, charities helping the vulnerable have been inundated with more than 70 tonnes of warm clothes to help vulnerable people.
The campaign, Clothes for Christmas, which was supposed to run for a month, has been so successful that charities are still collecting donated items from drop-off points.
A wealth of charities benefited from the collection, which was distributed by the Council for the Homeless NI and donated to organisations such as the Simon Community and Women's Aid.
Clothes were also distributed to people with no permanent homes, and not a single item went to waste.