Mr. Happy Man - Johnny Barnes
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MR. HAPPY MAN - JOHNNY BARNES
Johnny Barnes born John James Adolphus Mills on June 23, 1924, is a
Bermuda native found waving to passing traffic at the Foot of the Lane
roundabout in Hamilton, Bermuda, from roughly 3:45 am to 10 am, every
workday, rain or shine. A Bermuda institution mentioned in several
guidebooks and profiled in a documentary film, he is known for waving
and saying "I love you, God loves you," to passing commuters during the
morning rush hour into Hamilton. Due to the unique layout of the island
and its roads, nearly all drivers at rush hour coming from the western
and southern areas of the island pass Barnes at the roundabout.
Barnes, now an elderly pensioner, was an electrician by trade and worked
on the Bermuda Railroad as an electrician until the railroad closed in
1948. He then became a bus driver. Barnes was fond of waving to people
while driving the bus, and would occasionally sit and wave to people on
his breaks or when coming to work.
One day in approximately 1986, Barnes stopped at the Crow Lane
roundabout took up waving to traffic. He has been there almost every day
since, and local radio stations report receiving frantic calls when
Barnes is not at his unofficial post. He is occasionally joined by
people, sometimes costumed, waving signs to promote a charity, event, or
In the 2011 short-subject documentary, Mr. Happy Man, Barnes identifies
himself as a religious man, a Seventh-Day Adventist who is motivated to
share God's love for everyone. Though Barnes will pray with visitors to
his post if requested, he is not known as a religious proselytizer.
In November 1998, a group of local businessmen unveiled a life-size
bronze statue of Barnes blowing kisses in the air. The statue is located
on Crow Lane just up from the roundabout. Although there were objections
to spending $70,000 to build a statue to a man still living, Barnes said
in Mr. Happy Man that he appreciated the gesture while he was still
alive, saying he wouldn't be able to enjoy it if he were dead.
Barnes was married in 1949 and still lives with his wife. His wife has a
cheery disposition because he (Johnny) has "covered her with honey"
since they were married.
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