Sanitation crew helped a Manhattan woman to recover her engagement, wedding rings after sifting through trash bags for two hours.
This three-ring circus began with a meatloaf and ended happily at a New Jersey trash-transfer station.
A 34-year-old Tribeca woman was preparing a duck meatloaf in her apartment on Thanksgiving when she removed three rings — including her wedding band — and left them on a paper towel by the side of the sink.
The paper towel, along with her diamond-studded bands and engagement ring, ended up in the trash — packed away with 13 tons of garbage in a collection truck by the time she contacted the city Department of Sanitation on Friday.
“Luckily, the sanitation worker didn’t dump the truck already that day,” said supervisor Louis Guglielmetti, 53, who helped the woman, who is being identified by only her first name, Melissa, track down the treasure in the trash.
Guglielmetti reached out to the sanitation worker on the collection route and found out that Melissa’s Chambers St. apartment building was the last stop of the day.
Workers delayed emptying the truck until Melissa arrived Monday afternoon with three family members. They brought along protective Tyvek suits, boots, gloves and a broom — and a tarp to sort out the trash.
“I have never seen anyone that organized,” said Guglielmetti, a 17-year veteran of the Sanitation Department who has helped people retrieve rings, money and even luggage. He said they opened about 200 bags to try to find ones from Melissa’s building. “We always encourage people to recycle, but there was junk mail in the trash,” Guglielmetti said. “That’s how we found them.”
The crew then sifted rubbish from about 40 bags for about two hours until a cry of joy erupted from Melissa.
“Everybody started jumping and screaming,” Guglielmetti said. “She had the rings in her hand!”
Melissa declined to be interviewed about the incident but expressed her appreciation for the Sanitation Department. Guglielmetti said he was happy to help the woman, who reminded him of his own daughter-in-law, also named Melissa.
“I hope one day someone will do this for my family members — if they need it,” he said.