WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Your garbage collector may not be what comes to mind first when someone says “hero” but Larry Hankins and Daniel Perry have had two saves in the last few months alone.
As equipment operators that handle the city’s recycling, they cover a lot of ground, making anywhere from 700 to 900 home stops each shift.
“We see something crazy every day, that’s why you always got to be alert, always pay attention to what you’re doing, you know. We keep safety first, but we also have to be aware of everything around us,” said Perry.
For a couple of guys that look at junk each day, they have an uncanny knack for seeing things others don’t.
“You can’t, like, save everything,” said Hankins, “Little things that we do see...we try to help out when we can.”
This summer they were collecting cans when they saw an elderly woman fall. It was raining and there was no one else around.
The men ran and picked her up off the ground, made sure she was okay, then went back to work. They thought no one was around, but these real-life superheroes were caught on camera.
The neighbor had a doorbell camera and sent the footage showing their save to their manager.
“We’re just doing what you’re supposed to do. Everyone has a mom, a grandma, and things happen and if my grandma fell, I’d want someone to get her up too,” said Hankins.
It’s not the only time the men found themselves at the right place at the right time. Weeks later they were on Castle Street when a car suddenly stopped in front of them. A young man was having a medical emergency.
“I ran up there, saw he was having a seizure and all the windows were rolled up, I could see him sweating real bad. The car was still in drive, so I went up there, put it in park and called 911,” said Hankins. “It was scary.”
The two men were presented awards by the city for their efforts, but both men say they don’t feel like heroes, but insist they were just doing their jobs.
“Do good and good will come back to you; I just try and practice that everywhere I go...just trying to do good,” said Perry.
In this case the old saying rings true: to leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.