HES Custodian’s Kindness Gets National Attention From Sports Celebrity
Posted on 01/10/2023
Heritage Elementary School custodian Doug Barnes never imagined that a simple act of kindness of greeting students with high fives on a daily basis would garner him any attention.

“I’m just giving back what was given to me,” he said. “I just do it to show kindness and build a connection with the kids.”

Barnes, who is affectionately known at school as ‘Mr. Doug’ also never imagined that this simple act of kindness would land him on NBC5’s “Wake Up to #SomethingGood” news segment. That’s what happened after GCISD’s communications department posted a video of him in October to celebrate the district’s amazing facilities employees on National Custodian Day.

Barnes’ cousin posted that video on Facebook with the caption, “I guess these kids must love my cousin, even though he is a Raiders fan.”

That Facebook post caught the attention of Brian Musberger, nephew of broadcasting legend Brent Musberger and chief executive officer of VSIN Vegas Stats and Information Network. Musberger was so touched by the video that he wanted to treat Barnes to see the Las Vegas Raiders play the Kansas City Chiefs, hotel stay included.

“I didn’t want to believe it, but when [my cousin] sent me the information, I said ‘this is for real’ and I received my plane ticket the same day,” Barnes said.

Why that game?

Barnes had been to Las Vegas last summer, toured the stadium and dreamed of going to see his hometown football team of Kansas City play his now favorite team, the Las Vegas Raiders.

“But when I saw the ticket prices, I said, ‘Well, I guess I won’t be going to that game.”’

But the incredible reach of this story doesn’t end there.

While waiting in the hotel lobby in Las Vegas, a couple walked up to him and said they recognized him. “You are Mr. Doug! We know you!” they said. They had seen Mr. Doug’s video on an NBC news story in Nebraska.

Mr. Doug’s kindness and connection to students is why he is so well liked at Heritage.

“He talks to everyone and everyone gravitates toward him,” said HES Principal Jill Hemme. “There is no one else who deserves this surprise more.”