A Ucluelet garbageman’s workday looked more like Christmas morning last week as he found presents left out for him all along his route.
Frank Thomas Trodden told the Westerly News he was “definitely stunned” by the community’s outpouring of appreciation as he went about his business on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
He said he had heard of the town’s plans to thank him with a Frank Appreciation Day through Facebook, but never thought it would gain as much traction as it did.
“I didn’t believe it was going to be a big deal and when the day arrived I was proven wrong. I had so many people showing me their appreciation with gifts or little notes or smiles and waves. It truly was a blessing day and I couldn’t have been more heart-filled,” 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 to thank Katharine Fleming for everything she did to make Frank Appreciation Day happen. She has a heart of gold that woman; truly truly amazing.”
Fleming had launched the initiative somewhat inadvertently a week prior when she made a post on the Ucluelet Community Board Facebook group explaining that a person had walked off with the drinks she leaves out for Frank every pickup day.
“It’s just to say you do a hard job, a thankless job at times and we really appreciate what you do,” Fleming told the Westerly. “He’s always got a smile on his face, he’s always friendly, he’s always nice, he does his job well and he deserves a little bit of thanks.”
She said the post quickly became a sounding board of support for the popular garbageman as the comments filled with feedback from other locals who appreciate the work he does and liked the idea of leaving gifts out for him.
“I thought, you know what? Let’s change this whole thread, that started out somewhat negative, around 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 ‘Thanks’ to him during his Sept. 13 route.
“I deleted everything about the person taking the stuff because that really had no bearing on what was now going to happen and changed it to, ‘We’re making this Frank’s day,’” she said. “We all really appreciate what you do. You do a great job and we really appreciate you keeping our city clean.”
Ucluelet resident Liisa Nielsen said she was delighted to participate in the day’s giving spirit.
She said Frank often gives her a thumbs-upafter picking up her garbage, but she realized how tough and “underappreciated” his job is one morning when a glass jar fell out of her bag and broke as he was carrying it.
“I’ve wanted to do something for him ever since,” she said. “The day Katharine declared a Frank Day I was all over it…Thanks Frank for putting up with our garbage all these years.”
Fleming said when Frank came by her house that day, he was beaming from all the generosity.
“It made me feel so good. We made somebody’s day who really deserves 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 all about. It’s about each of us supporting each other. That’s what makes us the best place on Vancouver Island, probably in Canada, to live.”
She said she was not surprised to see the community get behind the new initiative with maximum gusto.
“I love our town. I love the people in our town. I love the way we all build each other up,” she said.
“All I did was put a little idea out there and everybody in this town ran with it. That’s what’s so great about our town. It only takes one person to start some little thing and the people in Ucluelet will all get behind it. We are great people. This town is great…Thanks Frank for doing a great job. We really do appreciate you.”