OBERLIN, Ohio – An Ohio solid waste collection agency helped a Lorain County family avoid disaster last week after mistakenly throwing away thousands of dollars in cash.
Six days a week, Republic Services trucks dump 4,500 tonnes of waste at its Oberlin landfill.
“Trucks coming in from all directions – from downtown Cleveland to Vermilion, dumping garbage,” said operations supervisor Gary Capan.
Last Wednesday didn’t start out any differently until Capan says they got a frantic call from one of their clients saying she lost something important in the trash.
“It turned out to be $ 25,000,” Capan said. “They would clean their house for their grandma, and they would clean the fridge, throw out all the trash, grab all the stuff from the freezer and put it in a bag, and then the grandma would say, ‘Hey, there’s an envelope with $ 25,000 in there, don’t waste that, ”and she says,“ Grandma, I already lost that, it’s in the trash!
Capan said they immediately got to work to find the missing money.
“A team was trying to track down the driver and find out exactly where he was and whether he had ever been to the landfill,” Capan said.
He said once the waste gets to the landfill it’s over.
“What happens when they get to the landfill is that they will come in, they will drop off their load of garbage, the bulldozers will immediately start smoothing it out, pushing it up the hill, dumping dirt on it and to start covering up the process of the landfill. And we’re doing it in an uninterrupted process, “Capan said.” If he’s fallen in there, there’s no way to find him anymore. “
Fortunately, the truck driver had not yet dropped off his load at the landfill, so Capan and his team arranged for the truck driver to drop off his six-ton load at a recycling center in Oberlin.
As soon as the driver unloaded the load, all hands were on the bridge to find the money.
“I told the girls, if it’s in there we’ll find it for you because they were pretty upset,” said Dan Schoewe, the recycling center’s operations manager.
Schoewe was one of 10 workers who jumped in to get the money and was the lucky one who spotted the bag he was in.
“I couldn’t believe it was taking 10 minutes,” Schoewe said. “I said, ‘Dude, that looks like this,’ I took it out, opened it, and there was the package inside with the money. They were so happy, they were crying. “
Over the years, the Republic Services team have found live checks, jewelry, and cash for customers, but it’s not easy.
“It can be very, very difficult. It’s rare that we can find something for someone. So it’s the biggest I’ve seen in 30 years,” said Schoewe.
Fast-paced action and incredible teamwork resulted in a happy ending for the Lorain County family.
“We feel good here. I felt good. I was like, ‘yeah, that’s great.’ What a great story, and we’re just happy to help, ”Capan said.
This story was originally posted by Jade Jarvis on the Scripps WEWS station in Cleveland.