A Staten Island woman is singing the praises of New York City’s Strongest after a team of sanitation workers went above and beyond the call of duty, searching through mounds of trash to find a deeply sentimental ring.
Jackie Cacace had received the abalone butterfly ring as a gift during a trip to Aruba this past June.
“It means a lot to me,” she told ABC News station WABC. “A man who loves me very much, who I love very much, gave it to me.”
Her world came crashing down this past week when she accidentally tossed the ring in the trash after wrapping it in a crumpled napkin.
When she realize her mistake a feeling of angst overwhelmed her.
“It was a strike of fear going from the top of my head all the way throughout my body, down to my toes,” she told ABC News station WABC.
Sadly, she had tossed the ring on garbage day and the sanitation crew had already serviced her block. Her next move was to hop in her car and search the neighborhood for the garbage truck. She finally caught up to the truck and tried to communicate her harrowing tale to the workers.
She described the scene to WABC, “I have tears running down my face. My hands are trembling. I can not get my thoughts together and I’m sure my words made absolutely no sense.”
On Facebook, Cacace explained, “They quickly calmed me down, placed a phone call to their supervisor, Richie, and ensured me my ring [would] be found. The truck was routed to the transfer station to be searched.”
Cacace met the sanitation crew at Garage #3 in Staten Island and, after looking at the huge pile of trash bags that tumbled out of the truck, thought, “There’s no way I’m finding my ring.”
Five sanitation workers joined in the search and, within 15 minutes, Cacace’s sentimental keepsake was found. The 46-year-old Cacace had provided a few clues that expedited the search, including the type of garbage bag she used and one of its known contents — a discarded box of Mallowmars, a throwback cookie that happens to have a bright yellow wrapper.
Sanitation worker Pete Mauro was credited with finding the ring.
“She was really upset when she came in,” Mauro told WABC, “but we were able to get it done. We found it and she was really happy.”
Cacace recounted, “At that point, tears were flowing out of my eyes. Tears of joy. I gave Pete the biggest hug ever. I was so grateful that he actually found my ring.”
“THANK YOU to all the men who helped me (Mo, Anthony, Richie, Pete, Scott, Mike) and many others, including those behind the scenes who saved the trash on the truck from being dumped elsewhere,” Cacace wrote on her Facebook page. “I recognize the massive amount of facilitation that took place, and the chaos I caused. I am simply impressed, humble, and overwhelmed with joy.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was also impressed with the Staten Island crew and gave New York’s Strongest a shout-out on his Twitter account.
In New York City, members of the sanitation department are known as New York’s Strongest, while police officers are called New York’s Finest, and the firefighters are New York’s Bravest.
Credits: Images via Facebook.com/Jackie.Cacace.