Jake Bland has dual roles at his job at Hometown Hauling, a refuse collection company in Louisville, Kentucky.
He’s the operations manager and he’s also on the truck picking up his customers trash.
He noticed that one of those on his route, an elderly single woman, hadn’t put out her trash for two weeks...he felt...he knew...that something just wasn’t right. So instead of just moving along without a second thought, he called his dispatcher, Bernice Arthur, and voiced his concerns.
She called the 90 year old customer and was relieved that she answered the phone, but was heartbroken when she found out why she hadn’t taken out her trash.
She didn’t have any.
Said Bernice, "She just didn't have nothing to eat….and that's why she had no trash to put out there."
She depends on public transportation to get to and from anywhere, and because of a now limited public transportation schedule but mostly because of wisely having great fears about getting on a bus with a lot of other people, many unmasked.....she was doing everything she could to try and stay safe.
And she ran out of food.
Ten days before.
"She has no family, nobody.
I said, ‘You do have a family now.’”
She asked her to please compile a grocery list...and don’t be shy….which she did.
After his shift, Jake returned to her house and picked up the list.
He then went shopping and delivered the food and staples to ‘Mrs.W.’
Paid for by the company.
He would have preferred to help her put everything away, but was instructed by Mrs. W to put everything in the garage so to keep everyone self.
Said Bernice, "Had we not reached out to her….she wasn't reaching out to anyone, and it taught me, regardless, check on them. Put something on their porch. Let them know."
And the company vowed to check on the many elderly and disabled customers that they have, as throughout the country, many of these brothers and sisters are struggling to get food.
Even more so than they usually do.
And that they will check on Mrs. W every week.
And as Jake observed, "It was even in a nice neighborhood. You never know what's going on in your neighbor's house."
As WDRB noted….
Bland and Arthur played a pivotal role in potentially saving the woman's life, and they hope their story serves as a reminder to check on loved ones in any way possible.
I have very recently read comments here by errant community members disparaging those from Kentucky.
Imagine if they knew that they worked in refuse?
Would it have made a difference if Mrs W was a sister of color?
Well, here are the faces of two good neighbors that seemingly care more about the well-being of the meekest and weakest in our society then no less than 53 U.S. Senators and 196 members of the House of Representatives.
Well dressed and finely educated though they may be.
An interview with these two kind folk can be found here…
Peace and blessings to Jake, Bernice and Mrs.W.
As a side note, yesterday i called the company and Bernice answered.
I told her i was calling from Colorado and that i wanted to thank her for her compassion, and to pass it along to Jake.
She was sweet, thanked me, wanted me to stay safe….
…...and told me how much she likes John Denver. :-)