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15 Celebrities Who Know All About MCTS Excellence


Some big-name celebrities are among the hundreds of millions of people around the world who know all about MCTS Excellence. Stories about the Milwaukee County Transit System’s amazing employees frequently go viral thanks to the broad reach of social media, TV, radio and newspapers.

Here are 15 of our favorite high-profile moments and mentions:

Kelly Clarkson


Singer and soon-to-be talk show host Kelly Clarkson invited MCTS Driver Natalie Barnes to a concert in Green Bay to thank her for helping a homeless man find a place to live. In addition to getting the VIP treatment and a private meet and greet, Barnes also joined the star on stage. Clarkson played a clip of Barnes’ MCTS Excellence video, gave an overview of the story, then had a Q&A discussion with Barnes in front of a packed arena. "You have no idea how something so simple can completely alter someone's life and path and change it for the good," Clarkson told Barnes. "And it's just a really beautiful thing."

Ellen DeGeneres


Comedian Ellen DeGeneres’ team invited MCTS Driver Natalie Barnes to be in the audience for a taping of the star’s talk show in Los Angeles. Producers said they wanted to do something nice for Barnes to thank her for her actions. Afterwards, Barnes was interviewed and filmed for a special segment on Ellen’s website. Ellen herself later tweeted, “This Milwaukee bus driver let a homeless man stay on her bus for as long as he wanted so he could stay warm.”

Kelly Pickler 


Kelly Pickler and her co-host Ben Aaron invited MCTS Driver Irena Ivic to Nashville to be a guest on their syndicated daytime TV talk show “Pickler & Ben.” They recognized Ivic for rescuing a baby girl that she spotted alone on a freeway overpass. “Irena is a real-life superwoman who went above the call of duty to save a life of a child,” Pickler said. “You are truly a hero in our book.”

Steve Harvey


Steve Harvey devoted two minutes of his syndicated daytime TV talk show to highlight the actions of MCTS Driver Irena Ivic. “Sometimes fate has a funny way of putting the right people in the right place at the right time,” Harvey said. “And in the case of this little baby, I think we’re all pretty thankful.”

Anderson Cooper


World-renowned journalist and TV anchor Anderson Cooper used a Facebook Live broadcast to give a special shout out to MCTS Driver Shenika Merrill for teaming up with her bus riders to push a stuck car off railroad tracks during a snowstorm. “Merrill went out of her way to help a stranger and went way above and beyond the call of duty,” Anderson said. “It’s something we can all learn from.”

Ashton Kutcher


Actor Ashton Kutcher has shared several stories of MCTS Excellence on his social media accounts over the years. “Every day, you have the chance to make a difference,” Kutcher wrote about MCTS Driver Michelle Mixon, who comforted a little girl while her mother had a seizure. He also helped spread the word about MCTS Driver Kaniquka Jackson, who helped an elderly man who fell in the snow; and MCTS Driver John Reed, who befriended a little girl and her mother who rode his bus every day. “We need more of this kind of kindness in the world,” Kutcher said.

Shonda Rhimes


T.G.I.T! MCTS Driver Natalie Barnes’ remarkable kindness and compassion caught the attention of Shonda Rhimes, the creator of hit primetime TV shows like "Grey’s Anatomy", "Scandal", and "How to Get Away with Murder." Rhimes shared Barnes’ video on social media, saying it’s a “story that makes us believe the arc of the moral universe is bending towards justice.”

Charli XCX


British singer-songwriter Charli XCX opened for Shawn Mendes at Summerfest in July 2018. The next morning, the global hitmaker posted a photo to her six million social media followers showing herself posing on a vintage MCTS street barricade outside the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. We celebrated our low-key cameo by blasting Charli’s hits and collabs like “Fancy”, “I Love It”, “Boys”, and “Boom Clap."

Christian Yelich


Like everyone in Milwaukee, MCTS has a lot of love for Brewers star outfielder Christian Yelich. Leading up to 2018’s official MVP announcement, and in honor of Yelich’s uniform number, MCTS Route 22 was temporarily renamed the YELICH LINE. We said that, if Yelich and 2,222 others retweeted our post, we’d make the change permanent for the 2019 season. Yelich then tweeted, “Let’s Ride in Style Next year."

George Takei


“Star Trek” actor George Takei starred in an iconic 1984 TV commercial for MCTS. “When I’m out in space, I use the Starship Enterprise to get around. When I’m here in Milwaukee, I ride the bus to save time and money,” Takei said. “Your Milwaukee County Transit System is really out of this world!” Decades later, Takei is still a fan of MCTS. He recently shared a story about MCTS Driver Tiffani Lee, who found a lost five-year-old girl. “Kudos to this bus driver for following her instincts to do what’s right,” Takei said.

D.L. Hughley


Actor and comedian D. L. Hughley said, “It takes a village,” when sharing a video about MCTS Driver Irena Ivic. “Not all heroes wear capes,” Hughley wrote.



“I believe in humanity,” wrote rapper and actor Common, who posted video of MCTS Driver Irena Ivic. “You’re a real super hero Irena Ivic, and everyone in that bus that helped.”

Chris Meloni


Actor Chris Meloni, known for his roles on the hit TV shows “Law & Order”, “Oz”, and “True Blood,” chose a single word to describe MCTS Driver Kaniquka Jackson. “Superhero,” Meloni wrote, along with a link to Jackson’s story.

George Lopez


Actor and comedian George Lopez let the story of MCTS Driver Natalie Barnes speak for itself. He shared the video on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, not even feeling the need to write a caption. His millions of followers were moved by Barnes’ kindness. Many people left comments saying things like, “Beautiful, beautiful soul.”

Novak Djokovic


Serbian-born superstar athlete Novak Djokovic is one of the world’s top tennis players. He took to his Instagram account to share a post about MCTS Driver Irena Ivic, who is also originally from Serbia. He reposted a video from rapper Common, saying, “Thanks for sharing. I believe in humanity, too.”