My pal Emily, who’s been doing a killer job running the Mission Community Market on Thursday evenings, is also doing a killer job of being a good roommate. I heard some rumors about what had happened and asked Emily for the full account:
My roommates and I occasionally do this thing where we take the trash OUT of our house, but it doesn’t make it all the way down the stairs to the garbage bins. Seeing a bag of (what I thought was) trash outside the back door yesterday evening, I decided to do everyone a favor and take it out before any cats or other animals got to its contents.
This morning, I was out running some work-related errands when I received a text from my roommate Mike, “Hey, has anyone seen a bag of clothes on the back porch?”
I shot a text back, “Oops, I thought it was trash,” all the while thinking, “We can just go grab it out of the garbage bin, no big deal.” Until I realized IT’S TRASH DAY. Panic ensues.
I called Mike, and we had a horrific, emotional, tear-filled conversation over the phone. I told him I’d pay to replace whatever was in the bag. Apparently it was a brand-new suit, and some other fancy clothes–his dry cleaning.
I biked to our street to see if I could catch the trash truck, and I did! But he was picking up trash on the other side of the street so he said that whatever I lost was now deep inside the truck. I figured it probably was a lost cause and went home defeated.
At home, I found Mike on the phone with Recology, scrambling to try to find his lost bag of clothes. I told him to let me handle it. He gave me his list of numbers and I started calling. I went back outside and found Jamal, the same driver I’d encountered before. He said he was finished for the day, and was headed back to the dump. I asked him if I could ride in the truck with him, he said no. He said that sometimes they don’t let members of the public sift through the general garbage because it’s a health hazard, but he gave me the address and a number to call. I hopped in a Lyft and was on my way. When I arrived I looked for Henry, the supervisor I’d been told to contact on-site. He picked me up in a golf cart and whisked me away to the dumping platform where all the Recology trucks dump their trash into a huge pit. Henry told me that they would dump the contents of my street’s truck onto the platform, and we’d proceed to pick through it before dumping it into the pit.
When Jamal arrived, I donned my disposable cover-alls, gloves, and face mask that I bought before leaving the Mission (thank you, Last’s Paint!). The garbage was swiftly dumped in a huge pile and smeared out across the platform with a tractor. I began searching with three other Recology workers, including Henry. One of the workers told me to look for mail with addresses on it, so they could get a sense of where our garbage was in relation to the others. After about twenty minutes of searching, I was knee-deep in Post-Carnaval Mission Street garbage, cat litter, and broken glass. I was just starting to lose hope when Henry shouted that he thought he had found something! Amid all the other white garbage bags, was one, less dirty than the rest, THANKFULLY double bagged and tightly tied closed by Mike. We pulled it out of the rubble. I took off my gloves (which smelled like the vomit on the street outside of Taqueria Can-Cun), and looked through the contents. It was all there. I gleefully hugged the Recology workers, tears in my eyes, as they fist-bumped each other in satisfaction.
I left and disrobed, but not before asking Henry to snap a photo of me with my triumphant trash prize.
I took another Lyft back to the Mission, with just a hint of garbage funk still on my shoes.
My favorite part of this whole experience is how nonchalant all the Recology guys were about it. Apparently this just happens from time to time, and they actually really want to help. I told them I couldn’t believe they take time out of their days to help people sift through garbage to find their lost valuables. “Customer service is very important to us,” Henry told me.
Wowee. To prove it was all worth it, here’s a recent photo of Mike looking real sharp: