One Man's Trash

Caroline and I had a date planned for a Friday evening.  She called me up earlier in the day to let me know that she'd either have to cancel or hold it earlier, before 4 o'clock.  Holding it earlier was fine by me, and I told her that.  Instead of meeting at the restaurant, however, she asked that I meet her at her office building.

She met up with me in the lobby and asked me if I'd accompany her into the building.  I figured that she had wanted to take me on a tour of her office.

We arrived in the sub-basement trash facility.  She led me through a few sets of swinging metal doors and we stopped in a big room that had two trash compactors.  She turned to me and asked, "Ready?"

You see, Caroline was in the marketing department for an educational supply company.  The prior day, she had accidentally mismatched two client files, and a folder with some very important contract information was apparently thrown away.  It wasn't yet garbage day, so that meant that the missing folder had to be inside one of the two compactors.

The two of us stood before the large metal machines.  Caroline, having explained the above to me, asked me if I had any questions.

"Yes," I said, "You're asking me to jump into a compactor and help you locate your file?"

She nodded.  "I'll get in huge trouble if I don't find it.  Do you mind?  I wouldn't ask you unless it was really, really important.  I'm really sorry."

I inquired further, "Why not ask someone from here at work, or a friend, instead of me, who you only just met?"

She said, "No one at work can find out!  And none of my friends are around at this time of day.  And besides, it would be too embarrassing.  You going to help?  Because we don't have a lot of time."

It was a bit miffed that she hadn't mentioned any of this before I had arrived, but that was besides the point.  She needed help.  I was dressed in a nice shirt and slacks.  I supposed that I could always visit a washing machine afterward and, I have to be honest, the idea of saving a nice young lady's job was appealing to me.

I asked the final, and likely most important question.  "Any chance that these will start compacting while we're inside of them?"

She said, "They can only be operated from the switch near the open hatch.  The person operating it will be able to see inside, and we can yell for them to stop.  I don't think that anyone's going to be coming down here until after most of us are out of the building, though."

While Caroline stripped off her outer clothes without a second thought, I opted to climb into the other compactor with my clothes on.  I couldn't help but notice a bruise on her thigh.

"From earlier today," she explained, "I hit myself climbing out.  Be careful."

Like Scrooge McDuck into a vault of gold coins, I waded my way into wet paper towels, gummy foodstuffs, and one sack that smelled a bit like old diapers.  If I didn't hug the sloping sides of the interior, the pile would have easily been up to my neck.  The smell became too rancid to bear, I switched to mouth-breathing, and forged on.

There was nothing for it but to tear open bag after bag, sift through the contents, and find that file folder.  Once or twice, I heard a "Shit!" or a, "Damn it!" from the direction of Caroline's compactor.  I went on.  It had to be there somewhere.

It was.  A little over half an hour later, I pulled a bent file folder out of a trash bag.  It was spattered in coffee grinds and some red fluid, but it was definitely what she was looking for.

I jumped out of my compactor and alerted her.  She screamed in joy, and I helped her climb out.  We were both a bit of a sight, but she looked far worse for wear.  My clothes were in a sorry state, but the look on her face made it completely worthwhile.

She asked if I could run and grab some paper towels and cups of water from the maintenance area, which I did.  She washed herself off as best as she could, pulled her clothes back on, and took the file.

She said that she wanted to repay me, and asked if I would wait for her to return the file upstairs.  I waited for a little bit on a bench near the maintenance area, and sure enough, she returned.

We agreed to clean ourselves up before anything else, so we went to our respective homes, showered, changed, and she took me out to dinner.

While being more-than-friends didn't work out, we're still friends, and I'll never forget how I met her in the first place.


  1. Very unique and interesting abcotd. you seem like a good guy OP.

  2. You should have said to her,

    "I deserve to be blown first! Before the trash compactor!"

  3. MMmmmmmm, red fluid, my favorite fluid of them all.

    All I could think of was the compactor scene in Episode IV 'A New Hope' - "I think there's something in here....."

  4. I was totally hoping that someone was going to try to crush the two of you. I'm kind of bummed that didn't happen.

  5. Ahh, Fizziks, you beat me to it!

    You do sound like a really nice guy and I'm glad the whole situation worked out for you. The only way I would have crawled into a dumpster looking for a needle in that smelly heap of a haystack is if this girl was super hot...I mean Alison hot...and not for any other reason on this earth. You are a far better (smellier?) man than I sir.

  6. I expected him to end up in jail with her denying she even knew him...

  7. I expected a little more suspense with the trash compactors and all.

    In my bitter fantasy world, you found the folder just in time for the compactor to start, and lost three toes in the escape. She then totally blew you off, since a real man doesn't cry when he loses appendages.

    Anyways, great to hear about decent people helping others once in a while. Just spice it up when you tell the interents next time, we have rather low standards.

  8. I wish there were more nice guys like you around, OP.

  9. I totally agree, the OP went above and beyond what should have been required of him

  10. Wait, is this a Jared story? The OP is unnamed.

    Pretty funny (if that's the case) to read how everybody wants more nice guys like this OP, considering Jared took some flack in his latest personal stories.

    If I was cynical, I'd say Jared went out of his way to be nice with his date just so he could report back here on his blog. :o)

  11. This is a Jared story, and I'd report on here regardless of whether or not I was nice.

  12. Finally, a nice person.

  13. Fizziks beat me to the Star Wars comment! XD I was totally expecting the trash to start compacting and them to almost get smushed inside because she was wrong and no one checked and then just escape at the last minute.


  14. Surely Jared you could have shared her bin? She stripped down for a trash search. Caroline's a keeper! Separate bins is not a date. Even George knew that Luke could not go solo in the Trash Compactor.

  15. To Everyone: "your MOM goes solo in the trash compactor!"

    Sorry 11:51. I couldn't resist.

  16. Anon 9:21 hit the nail on the head. If Jared had gotten stood up after she turned in that file, or if he had gotten mauled by the trash compactor, everyone would call him an overeager pussy. Instead, he's a Shining White Knight who smells like day-old Indian food and diapers. I mean, good on you, J, for helping a girl out, but I'd like to think it doesn't make me any less of a good person if I had been in the same situation and said "no."

  17. I think it makes you less of a good person, Nikki. Then again, I'd say that regardless.

  18. And you WOULD know, as you've met the real me, and not the evil troll me.

    Ah well, I suppose now's as good a time as any to accept the darker side of my nature.

  19. Even the lowest budget organizations use computers to store company data.

    Jared, I've got some swamp land in Georgia and am in a bit of a financial bind. BTW, I'm a nice lady.

    Jared to what other extents have gone to for complete strangers just to have the privilege to spend some time in the flesh with the opposite sex?

  20. @ July 26, 2010 10:51 PM

    The last place I worked was a multi-million dollar government contract holder that dealt with contracts printed on a quarter-ream of paper each. Almost nothing was on a computer. They were digitizing it all for backup purposes, but they were easily 3-4 years behind on files (scanning 1999 documents in 2003, etc.)

    Even the "new" stuff was done the old way then set in a pile to be scanned. Part of why a hammer costs the military $350 instead of $35.

  21. J, you made my heart have a smilie face on it.


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