The Economist’s Obituary Column from 23 July 2016 featured a touching study of Johnny Barnes’ life, including the following passage:
“For 30 years he went to the roundabout every weekday morning. He would rise at around 3am, walk two miles to his post, stay for six hours shouting “I love you!”, smiling and blowing kisses, and then walk home again. He was there in the heat, his wide-brimmed straw hat keeping off the sun, and there in the rain with his umbrella. Only storms deterred him and eventually, the creakings of old age. Over the years, he transmitted his radiant happiness to drivers hundreds of thousands of times.”
The article goes on to note that “There were naysayers, of course. Those who were not so lucky, or in a bad mood, resented these continuous demonstrations of good fortune. Gentle Mr Barnes was condemned as a traffic hazard, and once had a bucket of water thrown over him“.