A hero city bus driver who seriously injured his hand grabbing a 7-year-old girl from a fall in Coney Island this summer and can no longer make ends meet is getting a helping hand from big-hearted internet users.
Our article about Steven St. Bernard, the Coney Island bus driver who caught a girl falling from a third-story air conditioning unit in July — and put himself out of work by seriously himself in the process — inspired a wave of generosity after the story went online on Sept. 5.
“Hey guys, let’s offer a helping hand to Steven St. Bernard, who put himself on the line to save a seven-year-old,” Healy wrote in his pitch.
The online campaign, which is hoping to raise $6,000 for St. Bernard, raised $757 within 24 hours. By Tuesday, $1,170 had been raised.
Even less-technically savvy readers jumped in on the action as they started their own fund-raising drives.
“I was thinking of just writing him a check,” said Dennis Hersch, a Suffolk County attorney who has started a collection for St. Bernard. “But thinking about it some more, starting a fund seems like an even better idea.”
St. Bernard is currently on disability as his shredded tendon that required extensive medical procedures — including drilling into the bone of his forearm and installing metal supports — mends.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials made sure St. Bernard could fall back on his benefits, but the Coney Island resident said the $1,400 he gets a month isn’t enough to pay the rent and provide for his wife and daughter.
“My rent is $1,200 a month, so what am I to do?” St. Bernard said.
St. Bernard said he appreciated the assistance, both on and off-line.
“Anything would help,” he said.Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderma