I would like to share a story about my trash collector, who recently went above and beyond.
On the rainy morning of Feb. 21, my wife was running late to work and remembered to put the garbage out for our weekly pick up. She set down her phone on the top of the car to move the garbage to the curb and forgot it was there when she drove away. A block down the street she turned onto Cumberland from Pepperwood and the phone flew off and broke into three pieces. Luckily, it landed right in front of a neighbor's garbage spot.
While running his normal route, our trash collector, Chris Flasza, who works for Groot found her phone on the ground in pieces and picked it up before he ran it over. It wasn't until that night that my wife let me know she had misplaced her phone. I tried calling it a couple times to see if it would ring in the house and nothing was heard. Two days went by and the phone was pretty much considered lost. On Thursday evening we attended a benefit program in Chicago for the ACLU and as we signed into the event my phone rang, so I let it go to voicemail. I run my own business and normally never miss a call, so I checked voice mail and realized it was our trash collector, Chris Flasza, letting us know he had my wife's phone and would be willing to meet someone to pick it up.
I, of course, was hesitant of a strange man wanting to meet in the middle of the night. So I gave his number to my wife to talk with him so she could pick it up at his work the next day. When she called him, it was a general number to Groot and he was out on his route. She could not leave a number to call back, as she works at Devry and the call would have gone to someone else. So we never reached him to pick up the phone at this point.
Then something miraculous happened. Friday during the day I received a call from our good friend Cheryl DeGuiseppe who we were meeting for dinner later that night. Cheryl went on to tell me she had tried to call Dawn to confirm the dinner and this man called her back from Dawn's phone. He told Cheryl the story of him finding the phone and had been trying to reach Dawn but her phone was going dead. So Cheryl reached me via a Facebook message and then phone call to reach him. We were both surprised he was so interested in getting Dawn’s phone back to her. I then called him we made arrangements for me to go to his home in Downers Grove to pick up the phone. I am a life coach and money consultant by trade and felt like I needed to do something for him for going so far out of his way to return her phone. I thought I could give him one hour of free financial advice to him for his good deed.
When I arrived, he came to the door with baby in tow and another two running around and a cute American bulldog puppy at his side. He handed the phone to me and I felt so bad for thinking he might have caused harm to me. I offered up the $300 worth of services to him and his wife as a gesture of my appreciation. I'm not certain that was enough. I asked him what kind of dog the puppy was and he called him his "garbage dog." In curiosity, I asked what that meant. He then told me the dog's story.
He was working a route in Chicago and had to pick up some large garbage cans. He picked one up and it dumped into his front loader. He informed me that when he does this, he has to visually inspect for explosive items, like paint cans or aerosol cans. Instead, he found on black garbage bag that was moving. Being in Chicago he thought it was rats, until he saw the small leg of a puppy sticking out. He opened the bag to find other puppies that were dead and this one that was still alive. The fun part came when I realized this man is approximately 6 feet tall, muscular and could easily take care of himself in a dark alley. He then said to himself, "Are you kidding me, I can't leave this dog like this." So he took him home and made him the family pet.
Moral of this story is, never forget the people who serve us when we are not looking and especially for the things we take for granted. And the things we don’t want to do. They not only do the things others will not, they save lives and our connections to the world in the process.
When I spoke with him, I asked him if he was OK if I gave his information to the paper for recognition and he said, “Um, sure” with a quite humble look on his face. This "ordinary guy" deserves to be recognized as "extraordinary" for being quite the humanitarian.