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Danielle Hatherley Carroll is an artist. She shares her talent with others, taking groups on field trips around various locations in New York City, setting up easels and enjoying the company of a variety of people as she captures the beauty of the city.
Art can often be about discovery and connection. And real life can often be about loss. When Danielle returned home one night, at first she didn’t realize that somewhere along the day’s painting journey, she had lost her wedding ring.
Then, at 3:30 in the morning, she sat up in bed, panicked at the feel of her empty left ring finger. She tried not to wake her husband but was caught heading out the door. When Danielle admitted what had happened, her husband got out of bed, and the two of them went out to search dumpsters.
The last place she remembered the ring on her finger was in Battery Park, when she was washing up. By the time they got there, all the garbage cans had already been emptied. Desperate, Danielle wrote a note and put it on the windshield of a nearby garbage truck, hoping against all odds that someone might be of help. “Help,” the note read. “I believe my wedding ring might be in this truck.” It was all she could do.
Parks and Recreation employee Gary Gaddist discovered the note in the early morning. He gave Danielle a call, and she explained the whole story.
“I had to go to Randall’s Island, and when I got there I showed the guys the note,” Gary recalls. They told him, “If you want to look for a needle in a haystack, go ahead.”
Now, this is New York City, and tons of garbage is moved every day, in multiple directions. Gary only knew that somewhere in the hub, among hundreds of piled-up bags, he was looking for a clear plastic garbage bag stuffed with a day’s worth of artist’s rags. He was up to the task.
At 8:00 that morning, Gary called Danielle with the good news. She burst into tears and took a cab to meet Gary. When asked why he would take the extra time to help out a stranger, Gary simply said, “It’s a love thing. I could tell she and her husband love each other. I’m glad I could help.”
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