Every Monday Morning, This Man With Alzheimer’s Goes Out To Meet His “Best Friend,” The Garbage Man
By Elizabeth Nelson
Harold the garbage truck driver is known along his route in North Bend, Ohio, for his kindness. He will walk trash cans back up to the garage for people he knows may struggle to move them, and he’s even been known to knock on residents’ doors if they forgot to bring their trash out on trash day—especially around the holidays, when everyone’s got more trash than usual because of family parties and gifts. But for one person in particular, Harold is really going the extra mile.
Julie Bick lost her mother about a year ago, and her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease shortly afterward. Julie and her two children moved into his home so that she could take care of him full-time, and she quickly learned that one of the symptoms of her father’s disease is a strong preference for routine. So it didn’t take long for him to start to recognize and become friends with Harold, who always stopped by at the same time on the same day of the week.
Now every Monday morning, Julie’s father walks to the end of the driveway to have a special little chat with his “best friend,” Harold. And Harold is always happy to take a few minutes out of his busy day to talk to him. Sometimes Julie joins the pair, and sometimes she hangs back and lets them have their time.
One morning, the garbage truck could be heard down the street, and Julie’s dad was rooting around in the garage trying to get a chair out to sit in. She helped him get the chair out and carried it to the end of the driveway for him, intending to stick around and chat, but her dad asked if she would give them some space so they could pray for her.
Touched by the gesture, Julie turned around and headed back toward the house. But she couldn’t help but look back one more time to snap a photograph of her father and Harold praying. In this photo, Harold is pictured kneeling next to her dad’s chair in prayer with him.
Julie posted the photo on Facebook, and it has quickly garnered thousands of likes, comments, and shares. Her post says, “OMG! This is the sweetest. I’m totally writing in to Rumpke on Harold our garbage man and what a great man he is. He knows my dad has Alzheimer’s and says hi to him every week and asks how he was doing. This morning dad asked me to take a chair out to the curb cause he wants to talk to Harold. I help dad get a chair out. I stand with him until Harold arrives. Dad starts crying and asks for me to walk away. I ask why, and he says ‘Harold is a good man. He is religious and I want to pray with him for you.’ Breaks my heart, I had to walk away. Harold is on his knees here praying with Dad.”
Julie says she is truly thankful for the kindness Harold showed to her father and the support she’s received from so many people on Facebook. “There is so much good in this world, and it starts with simple acts of kindness. Harold, thank you for your kindness and prayers. I will never forget this moment.”