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Bus driver receives Trump check, headed for Rachael Ray show

Donald J. Trump wasn’t there himself.

But in the well-appointed office of Mayor Byron W. Brown, a check for $10,000 from the real estate mogul was presented to the hero bus driver who brought a woman on the brink of suicide to safety.

“Although I know to you it was just a warm-hearted first response to a dangerous situation,” Trump wrote to Darnell J. Barton, “your quick thinking resulted in a life being saved, and for that you should be rewarded.”

The City Hall ceremony was just the latest in a string of high-profile appearances for Barton since he stopped his bus on Oct. 18 on an Elmwood Avenue overpass and counseled a distraught woman who was contemplating suicide.

And there will be more.

On Wednesday evening, a crew from celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s daytime television show interviewed Barton at the spot where the dramatic rescue took place.

“I would like to apologize to the motorists on Elmwood at that moment,” Barton said, confirming that Wednesday was the first day of filming for a feature the show is preparing.

Everything has been moving quickly for Barton, whose story spread to national news outlets and has brought congratulations from around the globe.

Barton has learned several lessons since that day, he said.

“Let’s just administer the grace that we would like administered to us,” he said. “We want a better world? We have to be part of it.”

He has not been able to speak again with the distraught woman.

“It is a plan of mine to do so, but I want to treat that with the sensitivity that that situation deserves,” he said.

Barton has spoken of starting a foundation with the gifts he has received, but said Thursday that no decision on how he will use the money has been made.

“I have my personal executive board, called my wife,” he said. “We haven’t sat down and had an opportunity to plan or anything of that nature yet, it’s been 100 miles an hour.”

Barton credited others at the scene that day, including a corrections officer, a counselor and the bus passengers who alerted him.

Students who had just boarded the Metro bus at a stop by McKinley High School spotted the woman hanging over the edge of the expressway overpass.

Deanna Viele and Aurora Vazquez immediately began using their cellphones to call 911 and Metro bus dispatch to report that an emergency was unfolding, school officials said Thursday.

In addition, students Tonisha McCaster and Tarlisa Miracle Bolden helped make the situation known to Barton.

“I shouted ‘look at that lady,’ ” Tarlisa said. “All my friends started shouting ‘God, she’s going to jump.’ ”

Barton has said that when he heard a student begin to cry, it helped him to focus on just how serious the situation was, explaining that initially it had seemed surreal with the woman leaning out over the expressway below and people on Elmwood Avenue walking by and riding by in vehicles as if nothing was happening.

Barton has said he could relate to the woman, because he had struggled with depression in the past.

In addition to a proclamation from Brown, Barton also has been honored by the Buffalo Bills, and received well-wishes from Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea.

News Staff Reporter Lou Michel contributed to this report. email: