Waste staff save the day

2018-05-25 16:35
Chris Kotze (left) and his wife Mellissa (right) are grateful to Ncamisile Bhengu (centre), a waste management employee, after she went out of her way to reunite them with their beloved Christmas angel doll.

Chris Kotze (left) and his wife Mellissa (right) are grateful to Ncamisile Bhengu (centre), a waste management employee, after she went out of her way to reunite them with their beloved Christmas angel doll. (Nhlanhla Nkosi)

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The story of a lost doll with huge sentimental value attached to it has turned into a heart-warming story of hope and gratitude.

Melissa Kotze, a mother of two girls, said she was devastated after she realised that the family doll she had inherited from her mother-in-law had mistakenly been thrown out with the rubbish and collected by the municipal truck on the morning of March 20.

“My mother-in-law had a special doll while growing up. It was given to her by her father. She made a dress for it out of her wedding dress and made it into a Christmas angel, bringing it out at Christmas to watch over her two sons and report back to Father Christmas. My husband and I had two baby girls and inherited the doll,” said Kotze.

Kotze said they were in the process of moving house when her husband, Chris, mistakenly separated the doll out from the Christmas decorations and put it in a box with scrap paper and plastic.

“I mistook it as a rubbish box and the doll ended up in a black bag classified as trash.”

On the morning that the rubbish truck collected their rubbish, from her sitting room, Kotze saw a doll sitting on the dashboard of the rubbish truck.

“I thought it strange and called my husband over to have a look. We then saw that the waste management workers were looking through our trash bags and taking our old lamps out. We then realised that the doll on the dashboard was our Christmas angel.

“I jumped into my car in my pyjamas, messy hair and no makeup, and drove in search of the rubbish truck.”

Kotze came across a rubbish truck parked on the side of the road but it was not the truck she was looking for.

She then called the waste management office and spoke to Ncamisile Bhengu, who she later described as “an angel”.

She was instructed to wait where she was as the truck was scheduled to drive back on that route later. After almost an hour, the truck drove back and she stopped it, only to realise that her doll had been taken by one of the waste pickers who had knocked off earlier.

“I burst into tears and ran back to my car.”

She called the office again and was told that Bhengu was on her way to Kotze’s house to personally pick up her rubbish as she was under the impression that the truck had missed their house.

When Bhengu and her colleague, Nathi Ncgobo, got to Kotze’s home and found her crying, they reassured her that they would try their best to get her doll back.

“She was crying hysterically and I also started panicking while trying to comfort her. I felt that we needed to get this lady’s doll back as soon as possible because clearly it meant a lot to her. We put everything on hold and drove to Edendale, where the waste picker stays, to get the doll,” said Bhengu.

A few hours later, Bhengu and Ngcobo returned to Kotze’s home with the Christmas family doll in hand.

“I was simply overwhelmed and completely mind-blown! The care and effort that these people had given me and my situation was extraordinary. Ms Bhengu was dressed in a beautiful dress and shone like an angel — I felt like she was my angel,” said Kotze.

Kotze has since bought another doll for the waste picker after discovering that he had taken the doll to give to a child in his family.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

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