A St. Francis neighborhood had to say goodbye to a beloved member of their community recently — their garbage man. Most everyone who lives there agrees he’s no ordinary trash collector. Since it’s such an essential service, they wanted to make sure they gave him a big send-off. “It’s kind of a thankless job, I would imagine,” said Lori Schultz. “Kind of alone, driving around in your truck, picking up everyone’s trash.”
Sometimes though, a job is what you make it. And that’s definitely the case for Matthew Lazarski. “There’s not a lot of people I’ve talked to who know their garbage men at all, much less their first and last name,” Schultz said. For nearly five years, Lazarski has been a big part of the week for Schultz and her family. “Stop on the corner, buddy,” she yelled to her 7-year-old son, Vinnie, as he ran out to meet the garbage truck.
It’s something Vinnie has been doing since he could crawl. “He would come out with a bottle of water and a bag of snacks for Keith, our first garbage man,” Schultz said. Vinnie has a photo of that garbage man, Keith, and their current garbage man, Matthew, also happens to be Keith’s brother. This route for Waste Management has been a family affair for years. “My brother used to tell me about him,” Matthew Lazarski said of Vinnie. “It’s his little buddy, and you’re my little buddy, too.”
When Keith moved on, Matthew took over. “All of a sudden the next day, Matthew Lazarski, his brother, inherited his route,” Schultz explained. “And the tradition continued. Vinnie would run out as soon as he’d hear the garbage truck.” Matthew carried on his brother’s tradition of knowing the neighbors. “A friendly smile goes a long way in this world. That’s how it always starts, with a smile and a wave,” he said, with a smile of his own.