CLARE - We wanted to know why a social media cheer was posted for “the jolly garbage pick-up guy,” Brad Comeau.
According to Shawna Comeau, his big smiles and friendly waves to residents as he works are welcomed by many in the Clare region.
Within minutes of our paper expressing an interest in writing about this fellow we received a message from Tracy MacDonald.
“Hey (smiley face inserted) I heard you are interested in writing a piece on Bradley Comeau. I am his mom (smiley face inserted).”
Hmmm….maybe he inherited his sunny disposition?
(Click on small Facebook icon in upper right-hand corner of posting to read comments.)
MacDonald couldn’t help but gush about her 22-year-old son, who has been working for haulers John Duffus and Dave Harris for close to two years.
“Brad’s very polite and friendly. All his years in school everyone loved him,” said MacDonald.
He has fans along his route too, judging by the responses from Shawna Comeau’s Facebook posting asking for props.
“He is the best, people should learn from him, his waves and huge smile says it all!!!!” said Michele Gaudet.
“He's awesome. He waves and smiles like he's everyone's best friend. I really like that,” said Joyce Saulnier Flynn.
“If more people would be like him the world would be one happy place,” said Nicole Boudreau Romain.
“He’s an inspiration. Brightens my day when I see him! Thanks for posting, he deserves the recognition,” said Tanya R. Comeau.
“No idea who he is, but it’s always big waves and smiles. I enjoy seeing him!” said Tiff Saulnier.
Shawna Comeau was pleased to see others agreed with her about Brad’s cheerful greetings.
“He has a beautiful smile, it’s wonderful to see such a young man enjoy his hard work while smiling and waving to brighten up someone’s day. I felt he deserved the shout out,” she said.
A 2018 article in the Globe and Mail listed garbage and recyclables collectors among the ten most dangerous jobs, due to hazardous materials, heavy equipment and road accidents.
And those who work with garbage are exposed to ugly, disgusting sights at times.
“A lot of people don’t even realize it, but yeah, it’s true. Sometimes it can be pretty gross. You get used to it after a while. I always wear gloves,” said Brad when we caught up with him.
He added that people are “doing good” when it comes to sorting their own garbage.
“Just try to keep the recyclables in the blue bag. If they could try to keep compostables in brown paper bags in their green bins (to reduce maggots), that would help to keep it cleaner,” he said.
Despite being on the truck at 8 a.m. with driver Delbert Dugas and performing hard physical labour eight to nine hours daily, three days a week, there are benefits to his job.
“It’s active and you’re always outside. Oddly enough, I love it,” said Brad.
He shares his philosophy.
“I try to think of it as, if you’ve had a bad morning, you don’t go to work and take it out on everyone else. I try to stay positive,” he said.
He appreciates the community support.
“Some people ask us for help and we help them out,” he said. “Everyone’s at the window waving. Some people give us cookies and cupcakes and things like that. I like to just keep it nice in the community.”