Garbage man spreads joy on the job

“I just love doing my job. I love my customers with all my heart, I really do."
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 9:28 PM EDT
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CHARLES CITY, Va. (WWBT) - From Charles City, to the Raintree area in Henrico, Darrel McNeil has been doing a lot more than what’s in his job description.

“I just love doing my job. I love my customers with all my heart, I really do,” McNeil said. “I’ve been doing it for 24 years.”

Neighborhood pets seem to love him.

“The people call me the biscuit man,” McNeil said. “I go to the store, I buy dog biscuits about every week no matter how much it costs.”

But man oh man, to the kids on his garbage route, especially Bodhi and his little brother Carden, he goes by a different name.

“Mr. Darrel, Mr, Darrel!” the kids call.

Allie Albright and her two boys have developed a bond with Mr. Darrel.

“We usually start camping out at around 8:30 a.m. waiting for him,” Albright said. “I’ve got my coffee out there and we’ve got our trucks and we just wait for him.”

“Aww man, the kids love the truck man,” McNeil said. “They like for me to come through and hit the horn.”

McNeil even puts a little time in to show them the truck and let them look inside. But it didn’t stop there -- he wanted the boys to enjoy the truck even when he’s not there.

“He was looking at other garbage trucks his company makes, but they have metal or dangerous parts to them and he didn’t want to get those for the boys,” Albright said, “so he went to Walmart and bought them a different truck that was more age appropriate.”

He even threw in a couple coupons for ice cream.

“For him to take that extra step to go, in his free time and with his own money, buy the boys a truck was just incredible,” Albright said.

NBC 12 heard about the way Mr. Darrel is spreading joy and we joined the Albright family for an early morning surprise. To reward him for his infectious smile, bubbly personality and ability to make anyone’s day, Mr. Darrel was awarded with $300 and a gift card.

They say one mans trash is another mans treasure, but Mr. Darrel IS the treasure.

“I was surprised man, it shocked me,” Mr. Darrel said. ”I wasn’t expecting that I really wasn’t.”

It was time for his good deeds to go unnoticed no more.

“One of my customers, I did yard work for them and didn’t charge them anything,” Mr. Darrel said. “On Christmas, I go out and buy like 2,000 Christmas cards and I give them to my customers.”

This community is lucky to have him.

“As long as the Lord gives me the strength to get up every morning, to go to work, and to come out here and do it, this is what I’m going to do,” Mr. Darrel said.

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