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Rumpke staff dug through 10,000 pounds of trash to help granddad retrieve lost gem

Published: Jan. 17, 2021 at 11:54 PM EST
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BELPRE, Ohio. (WTAP) - As Jim McCauley puts it, “It was a very strange set of circumstances, one of those you’d call a perfect storm.”

His schedule was booked that day. His list read: IT appointment, physical therapy appointment, and family visit.

On his race from place to place, Jim didn’t realize something was missing until the next morning.

He remembered, “I go back out to the car and I go through the cart. I take flashlights and I try - I have this recollection that I - I put that wallet inside that recycle bag. That bag that had the recyclables in it and I don’t remember taking it out. I do remember going outside and dumping that bag into the recycling bin.”

Soon after his realization, Mandy Campbell, a rearload truck driver, got a call from her supervisor at Rumpke.

She recollected, “...,and he said that somebody had lost a wallet in my truck. I proceeded to go to the front of my truck and he said no no no no it’s in the back of your truck. It was in one of the recycling bins and I said ‘oooh so it’s in the back of the truck’ and, like I said, you know there’s several several thousands of pounds in there and I thought...there’s no way - there’s no way we could’ve ever found that.”

Jim met up with Mandy and other Rumpke staff at a local recycling location. The staff typically sort through loads to catch non-recyclables anyways but it usually only takes ten minutes. This time, it could take an hour.

Mandy said, “We’re sorting, you know, broken glass, broken bottles. I mean, we’re sorting through all of it. And, I don’t know, something told me go just beyond the tarp and I searched and searched and, when I saw what I thought was a wallet, I said there’s no way and I pulled it up and I kind of screamed.”

It was the wallet and that’s not all that was surprising.

“It wasn’t even wet, dirty, nothing,” Mandy exclaimed. “People don’t believe in, you know, our savior but, I’m telling you, I really think, you know, there’s higher powers out there.”

As a sign of gratitude, Jim offered money to the staff but they refused.

Still, Jim had another surprise up his sleeve. He called Mandy over and opened up his wallet.

“I open it up and there is a picture of my grand-kids and I said just look at that and tell me, isn’t that worth all the trouble that you guys are going through? Just to get this wallet and these photos and return this to me? The other things in there, they’re valuable, they’re important to me, but for some reason right now that picture of the kids seems to be the most important thing.”

Jim hasn’t seen his grand-kids for a while due to Covid. He said he organized his wallet so that the first thing he sees when he opens it is their faces.

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