Garry Gaddist, a New York City Parks Department worker, might pick up trash five days a week for a living, but to one area woman who lost her wedding ring on his beat, he’s a hero.
Danielle Hatherley Carroll, who teaches art classes outdoors, had been teaching painting in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park when she cleaned her hands with what she described as a “slippery hand cleaner” to the Daily News.
“I was so busy that day and cleaning my hands constantly that I didn’t notice I had lost the ring,” she told the paper. When she realized she had likely thrown out the band, which had been a tenth anniversary gift from her husband, she backtracked to the park.
Carroll found that the likely bin where she might have found her ring was empty.
Yet, she spotted the garbage truck typically manned by Garry Gaddist nearby. It being Sunday and a day off for the city worker, Carroll left a note for him, explaining that her beloved ring was probably in one of the bags in the vehicle. “Hello, I believe my wedding ring is in this truck,” the missive explained.
Gaddist soon found the note, contacted Carroll and her husband, and began searching for the precious object the following Monday. Gary started on his mission on August 20 — at 7:30 am. But, the ring was not in his truck. It had been taken to a city dump.
“I had to go to Randalls Island, and when I got there I showed the guys the note,” Gaddist said of taking a chance on finding the ring. “They said, ‘If you want to look for a needle in a haystack, go ahead.’”
Luckily for Gaddist, the ring was easy to find. He was able to secure it by 8:30 am. But the truly lucky one in this scenario is Carroll, who had the great fortune to connect with the 42-year-old Brooklyn dad with a heart of gold.
Why did he do it? Gaddist told the press “it was a love thing.”
“She sounded like a nice person, and I could tell she and her husband love each other,” he said of his altruism. “I’m glad I could help.”
Gaddist has gone from neighborhood hero to artist. Carroll has repaid her new friend for his gracious act by treating Gaddist to one of her outdoor painting classes.
Last Sunday, exactly one week after Carroll lost the ring that brought them together, she encouraged Gaddist to express himself on a canvas for the first time, paint brush in hand.
“I see trash every day,” Gaddist said of the novel experience. “Some of it can be art, I guess. But this is very different from what I know.”
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb