Sanitation Worker Stops His Rounds to Bring in Trash Bin for Woman With Dementia

It's no big deal, the garbage man says, it's just what people do.

It's a very small act, but it's made a lasting impression on the life of an 88-year-old woman with dementia. 

Opal Zucca doesn't remember things as well as she used to. But she can still recall mundane tasks such as bringing in the trash bin on garbage day. 

Earlier this year, while trying to do just that, she made a misstep and fell and scraped herself up. Garbage man Billy Shelby saw it from his truck and went to help.

Ever since, he's been rolling Zucca's big green plastic bin up her driveway and placing it near her house so she won't get hurt again. A Ring doorbell camera installed by her daughter recently captured an awfully sweet moment — Shelby rolling the barrel up Zucca's drive, and her arm firmly locked in his.

Colette Kingston, Zucca's daughter, posted the surveillance video online and, of course, it went viral.

Kingston had the security camera installed so she could monitor her mother's house in Independence, Missouri. It activates every time someone comes up the drive. She had seen the garbage man before but hadn't paid much attention to it. 

When she told her mother not to bother anymore with wheeling in the receptacle, "she said, 'Oh no, the garbage driver will bring it up.'''

That sent Kingston back to the security footage. And what she saw when she watched her mother interact with the sanitation worker made her eyes fill with tears.

"He's so sweet," Kingston told

On the video, Shelby is heard laughing with Zucca.

"It's good to see you," he says.

"It's good seeing you, too," she tells him. "God bless you as always, darling," she says.

"Looking good. I like that hair. I got to work on mine," he says before he heads on his way.

Kingston recently invited Shelby to his mother's house, so she could thank him for his generous spirit.

"He thinks everyone is making a big deal out of nothing," she said, laughing. "He said, 'It's just what people do,'" Kingston recalled.

Shelby said to her, it's just like doing something for his grandmother. It's what you do for an elderly person in need, and it's paying respect to a long life well lived.

Kingston said it's hard to watch her mother lose pieces of herself. Opal Zucca was always a vibrant and caring woman. She took in foster children for years. 

So to know there are people like Shelby in the world renews her faith in the world's goodness. There are strangers who will stop to give her mother the most precious commodity in the world — time.

Shelby just thinks it's part of the job: picking up trash and being a good person.