Concordia University Wisconsin is home to extraordinary faculty, staff, and students, but every so often one rises above and does something extra-extraordinary. Natalie Barnes, who is a part-time campus safety officer at CUW, is one of those people.


Natalie also works as a bus driver for the Milwaukee Public Transit System, and after going above and beyond to let a homeless man ride her bus for free earlier this school year, she has quickly risen to national fame. She was chosen to attend a nationally televised talk show after producers heard about her act of kindness.

We know she is a top-notch campus safety officer and a kind Milwaukee Public Transit bus driver, but here are five amazing things you maybe didn’t know about CUW’s resident celebrity, Natalie Barnes.

1. She was invited on stage at the Kelly Clarkson concert last Friday in Green Bay.

Courtesy of Kelly Clarkson Facebook

“She’s such a nice person and really down to earth,” Natalie said of Clarkson. “We took some pictures together and she gave me a $1,000 gift card. It was such a cool experience.”

Related: Watch Natalie take the stage at the Feb. 15 Kelly Clarkson concert. 

2. It’s not the first time Natalie has done a random act of kindness for a homeless person.

“One time this man got on the bus who clearly did not have access to a shower to get clean, so I gave him what I had: baby wipes,” recalls Natalie. “I also gave him $5 so he could get some food. Another time someone got on the bus who was clearly homeless so I gave him my lunch. …You just have to give whatever you have in these situations. Anything helps.”

3. She works two jobs and clocks an average of  66 hours each week to support her three girls.

Natalie has three children, Jhynia (14), Selena (10), and Sasha (7), whom she is the sole provider for. If she’s not clocking hours at Concordia, she’s likely on one of her routes for MPTS. Either way, there’s no arguing she’s a busy lady! 

4. Natalie received a wonderful array of gifts on the Ellen Degeneres show.

Her prizes included:

  • a 7-day vacation to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or Jamaica
  • 2 round trip tickets on Jet Blue
  • Beats headphones
  • a $300 Amazon gift card
  • a $250 Fenti Beauty gift card

5. She loves working at Concordia because of the people.

“I like that it’s a laid back environment and it’s just enjoyable to be here.” Natalie says she especially loves getting visits from Quinn, the Resident Direct of Coburg. “Quinn is always bringing stuff by and I love her treats.

— Madelyne Arrigoni is a freshman studying English and Mass Communications. She plans to graduate in 2022.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.