Garbage man’s good deed inspires family’s generous act

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GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) -- A garbage man in Greeley returned a small Christmas gift to a family who accidentally threw it out, and now they are repaying his act of kindness in a big way.

Christmas morning brought plenty of toys and, in turn, trash to the Edwards home.

"It was mounding up pretty quick and we filled up a couple trash bags for sure," said Jason Edwards

But in an effort to clean up under the tree, a gift card got lost in the shuffle.

"Picking everything up, sorting through stuff, I guess I thought I had put it together with all my stuff," said Brenda Edwards.

A $50 JCPenney gift card made its way into the trash before anyone realized it was gone but, lucky for them, it wasn't lost forever.

"I was just dumping the cart in the back of the truck and seen the card on top of the pile of trash," said Jimmy James, who works for Bunting Disposal in Greeley.

James said the card looked like it hadn't been used, so he rescued it from the heap and handed it to his driver to check the balance.

"I had to stay on the back throwing trash and we kept working. I had him call it and check it and he told me what was on it," James said. "There was $50, so I had him put it in my wallet for me and then when we got off work that day I went by Jason's house."

Jason said he couldn't believe someone would take the time to drive back on their own time and personally return the card.

"It was kind of a shocker to me for sure," Jason said. "I called my wife and told her, 'you're never going to believe this guy, he just returned this card.' It's not a lot of money, it's just basically a simple principal that someone would take their time out to do something like that. It's pretty cool."

"There's still some kind people out in the world. I just think that's awesome." Brenda Edwards said. "He could have easily stuck it in his pocket and went on his way."

James knows that would have been easy, especially since his wife is going through college and they rely on his income to support them.

"The lady could have used some new jeans, you know, that was real tempting," James said. "But my parents raised me better than that, and I would hope somebody would do the same for me."

James didn't need to wait long to see his kindness repaid. Jason Edwards asked FOX31 Denver to present James with an envelope containing $75 cash. On the outside he wrote, "To Jimmy, Thank you for your honesty."

"Like we said, it's not about the money, it's just saying thanks," Jason Edwards said.

When FOX31 presented James with the envelope, he was stunned.

"Oh man. We didn't need nothing back," James said. "That's awesome man. That helps a lot. They don't know how much that helps. I don't even know what to say. Christmas time, you know, you're lucky to get a 10 dollar tip, let alone. "Wow man, I'm touched."

Despite the money and the attention, James said the original handshake and thank you he received from Jason Edwards was more than enough. Now he simply hopes others are inspired to do something kind in return.