Friday, February 22, 2008

Barnes, Johnny Barnes

For many, Friday signals the weekend, a break from a work week that for some may be hellish. Let's face it, not everyone likes their job, some even loathe it. That Confucius saying: 'Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life'? Yeah, that may apply to only a minuscule of a population. However much you dread your job, can't stand to work with the people around you, cringe at the very thought of going in, fear not if you're in Bermuda because this island has a secret weapon. He's called Barnes, Johnny Barnes.

Mr. Barnes stands at the busiest round-a-bout in Bermuda (more specifically in Hamilton) every weekday morning from 5:00am to 10:00am and greets commuters with a never ending chorus of 'Good Morning' and 'God Bless You' and 'I Love You' which sounds like 'Ilovya, Ilovya, Ilovya' (because let's face it, he has to make sure he targets every person that's driving through. That's a lot of I Love Yous. Tagging him as you drive right past him is a must and will most assuredly get you the widest smile you didn't think possible. Mr. Barnes does not care if you're local or expat, black or white, woman or man. Rain or shine, Mr. Barnes is out there, appropriately attired for the weather and sticks around even when traffic increases and spews out exhaust fumes that are unbearable. He will tag you, smile and wave at you and holler I Love Yous because he knows that's the start of a good day and those smiles are so very contagious. He will stop to have his picture taken anywhere (like the one above featuring a resident and her visiting mother), hand you his very own postcard (which he sells for a dollar) and will also pray with you (amist the hustle and bustle of traffic) before he sends you off.

Johnny Barnes started
greeting commuters in 1983. He was about 60 at the time. A retired bus driver, born of migrant parents that originated from the West Indies island of St. Kitts, Mr. Barnes is also known as the 'Happy Man'. His message of love has inspired many and the fact that he's still going strong 20 years later, is a testament to how much love this man truly has for everyone. Mr. Barnes has been honoured with a 6 1/2 foot statue of himself in his most famous pose and has also been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II. He truly is the island's most famous resident and at 84 there is no stopping him.
You can read more about Johnny Barnes here or here.

Below is a short (4 second) video of Johnny Barnes. Apologies for the squished funny look and the not so great quality
(Mr. Barnes is not that short and it's a long story).


Anonymous said...

Go Johnny Go Go, oh yeah yeah, Go Johnny Go Go! :)

Nice pics and story of Mr.Johnny Barnes.


bermudabluez said...

Yeah! I met the dude!!! What a guy...he deserves a tribute. At 84 we should all be so lucky!