A garbage man’s workday from Ucluelet looked more like Christmas morning last week as he found presents laid out for him all along his route.
Frank Thomas Trodden told the Westerly News he was “definitely stunned” by the community’s recognition as he went about his business on Tuesday September 13.
He said he heard about the city’s plans to thank him with a Frank Appreciation Day via Facebook, but never thought it would get so much traction.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal and when the day came I realized I was wrong. I’ve had so many people show their appreciation with gifts or little notes or smiles and waves. It was truly a blessed day and I could not have been more heartfelt,” he said.
“I’m just a guy who wants to do his job. I definitely want to say how grateful I am to the community and thank Katharine Fleming for everything she has done to make Frank Appreciation Day possible. She has a heart of gold, this woman; really really amazing.”
Fleming had somewhat inadvertently started the initiative a week earlier, when she made a post on the Ucluelet Community Board’s Facebook group, explaining that one person had walked away with the drinks she left for Frank each collection day.
“It’s just to say that you do a tough job, a thankless job at times, and we really appreciate what you do,” Fleming told the Westerly. “He always has a smile on his face, he’s always friendly, he’s always nice, he’s good at his job and he deserves a little bit of thanks.”
She said the post quickly became a sounding board in support of the popular garbage man as the comments filled with feedback from other locals who appreciated his work and liked the idea of leaving gifts for him.
“I thought you know what? Let’s change this whole thread that started out a bit negative and make something good out of it,” she said.
She said she edited her post to encourage everyone to show their appreciation for Frank by leaving gifts, cards, notes or simply saying “thank you” to him during his September 13 route.
“I deleted everything about the person who took the stuff because that really didn’t affect what would happen now and changed it to ‘We’re making this Frank’s day,'” she said. “We all really appreciate what you do. You are doing a great job and we really appreciate you keeping our city clean.”
Ucluelet resident Liisa Nielsen said she was delighted to be part of the day’s fundraising spirit.
She said Frank often gives her a thumbs up after picking up her trash, but she realized how tough and “underrated” his job is one morning when a glass fell out of her bag and shattered while he was carrying it.
“Ever since then I’ve wanted to do something for him,” she said. “The day Katharine declared a Frank Day, I was all in it… Thank you Frank for putting up with our trash all these years.”
Fleming said when Frank came to her house that day he was beaming with all the generosity.
“It’s been so good for me. We made someone’s day who really deserved it. It was fabulous. It was just fabulous,” she said. “This is really what the internet should be and what our Ucluelet Community Board is about. It’s about each of us supporting each other. That makes us the best place to live on Vancouver Island, probably in Canada.”
She said she wasn’t surprised to see the community supporting the new initiative with maximum enthusiasm.
“I love our city. I love the people in our city. I love the way we all build each other up,” she said.
“All I did was put out a little idea and everyone in this town rode it. That’s the great thing about our city. It only takes one person to start a small cause and the people of Ucluelet will all be behind it. We are great people. This city is great… Thank you Frank for his great work. We really appreciate you.”
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