Trash Men Help Family Dealing with Cancer

Trash Men Help Family Dealing with Cancer


This is a feel-good story to start out the new year. Three daughters in the Evenson Family anxiously wait by the window each week for the garbage men to arrive.  It’s not because they like to see their trash picked up. Nope. They just like waiving at the nice smiling garbage men – Brandon and Taylor. So, 5-year-old Grace, 3-year-old Rose and 2-year-old Sophia anxiously wait with binoculars in hand, smiles on their faces and hands a-waving. A bond formed between the family and the garbage men.

This feel-good story takes a sad twist when the mother writes the garbage men a note explaining why the girls will not be around for a few weeks. As it turns out, Rose has Kidney Cancer and she will be undergoing chemotherapy treatments at a hospital in another state. One of the garbage-men, Brandon, responded, “As a father of three, it changed my outlook on things. It opened my eyes … you don’t know what someone else is going through.”

Both men shared this note with their company and Hometown Sanitation Services responded with a heart-felt note and an offer for free trash service for a year. Brandon and Taylor bought the family Christmas presents and gave lots of hugs. This response brought everyone joy. Mrs. Evenson said, “Nothing in reality changes Rose’s diagnosis, but it’s those little acts of kindness. What they did made us feel like we are truly not alone in this fight.”

Dr. Hoedel’s Perspective: I have 4 children and my daughters used to have a similar relationship with the UPS driver. So, it’s easy for me to identify with this story. It’s also easy for me to say, “This could easily by my story.” Why them and not us? Stories like this remind me how fortunate we are health-wise. Stories like this also help me gain empathy for others who struggle with issues I can only imagine.

Your Turn: What thoughts and feelings do you have after reading this story?


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  1. I think the trash men had empathy for the family instead of sympathy. They put themselves in the families shoes and thought that it could easily be their kids going through that so they understood what he family was going through. Instead of feeling bad for them, they understood what the family was going through and wanted to help out.

  2. I feel that the truck drivers tried to put themselves in the family’s position because he has children of his own and doesn’t want to take anything for granted. He didn’t only feel bad for them he really tried to understand them.

  3. After reading this story, it opens my eyes to “you never really know what people are going through.” That is a very true statement. Empathy played a large part in this because the people surrounding were very understanding and wanted to do what they could to help the family, and they did. They did everything they possibly could and changed the lives of many people in just 2 small gestures. That is something everyone could wish they could do and be apart of, but not everyone has the chances or courage to be that giving.

  4. I chose this story for empathy due to the fact that it is clear and obvious that these men tried to understand what this family was going through and how hard these things may be for them so they offered the family free trash service for a year just to take some weight off of their shoulders. The family was appreciative of the kind and generous deed.

  5. This story is a great example of how much one small action can impact others. The garbage men did not need to do anything after hearing about the little girl, but they took the extra step to make one family’s day a little brighter. One small, good action can make a big impact on someone if they are going through a hard time.