INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - A kind gesture led to an unlikely friendship between a sanitation worker and an elderly woman in Missouri.
Colette Kingston often monitors movement around her 88-year-old mother’s home in Independence. She had a Ring camera installed to check on her mother, Opal Zucca, who has dementia.
On Monday, she saw something that she could only describe as “sweet.”
“I actually got a little teary-eyed,” Colette told WDAF.
She noticed a sanitation worker walking with her mom -- their arms locked -- carrying her trash can up her driveway.
“A little walking ain’t never hurt nobody,” the man is heard saying in the video.
“I’ve kind of seen him off and on, on different videos but never really paid attention, but he was so gentle with her,” Colette said.
In January, Opal tripped and hit her head while trying to retrieve her trashcan. The same man seen in the video was there when it happened and hasn’t left her side since.
He’s also heard in the video joking with Opal.
“You are looking good. I like that hair,” he said smiling. “You got it down. I got to work on mine.”
Opal’s family wants to thank the man for his kindness.
“Maybe if he has something fun he would like to do, like a Chiefs game or a sporting game, something like to make sure he got tickets,” Colette said.
They know he works for Waste Management. The company later told WDAF that employees identified the man as Billy Shelby.
“Most of the time you don’t even know their face, let alone a name with them,” Colette said of how often sanitation workers go unnoticed.
Opal said she whispers a short prayer for the man every time she sees him.
“He’s just a very wonderful person, and I really appreciate,” she added.
Her family said they're touched that a stranger would go the extra mile to make sure their mom is taken care of.
“It’s just so sweet that somebody that doesn’t have any gain in this would be just extra nice to her,” Colette said. “It just reminds you that there are still a whole lot of good people out there.”