Wetaskiwin local Amanda O’Blenis says her son adores their local garbage man. “He absolutely loves the garbage man.”
3-Year-old Nathaniel O’Blenis waits patiently every week for the arrival of ‘Gary the garbage man’ as affectionately dubbed by the O’Blenis family. Nathaniel knows when it’s garbage day and listens for the sound of the garbage truck going through the back alley so he knows how much time he has to get back there and watch for Gary.
“The rush is always on every Thursday morning,” O’Blenis says. “He watches for him every week and the garbage man slows down and waves to him and all of that,”
O’ Blenis says that their family wanted to give their garbage man a Christmas gift this year to thank him for all of his hard work. In a turn of fate, on their garbage day Gary actually had the day off, so they were unable to present him with his gift when he came by to collect their waste.
“So we started searching for him the following day and posted on the Rant and Rave to kind of get some more ears and eyes out for us,” says O’Blenis. “I was getting private messages of where he was, and people offering to call him and text him. It was pretty great.”
The community put their efforts into helping track Gary down to make sure he got his Christmas gift, including messaging O’Blenis with tips on Gary’s whereabouts.
After an hour and a half of driving all over the city, Nathaniel had found the right guy. During their tracking mission they came across two other garbage trucks on their route, and O’Blenis says for the longest time they kept finding the wrong one.
Nathaniel was so excited when they finally found the right garbage man. “He was screaming with joy, literally shrieking,” says O’Blenis. “When I told him that I had seen the garbage truck and this time it was Gary he was beyond excited.”
When they had found Gary they told him of their mission and gave him his gift.
“We finally tracked him down and he was just tickled pink,” O’Blenis says. “He gave my son a little chocolate bear in return.”
O’Blenis believes that Nathaniel’s love for the garbage man comes from how friendly Gary is. “He will honk his horn, and he stops and he waves, and he just makes a point of showing the children that he cares. I think that’s one of the reasons my son is just so fascinated with him.”
O’Blenis says that Nathaniel spent the whole afternoon telling her about the chocolate that Gary gave him.