Sanitation worker receives gifts and encouragement after breaking both legs on the job

INDIAN LAND, S.C. — Value Waste employee Ramon “Ray” Fernandez received hundreds of dollars in cash, gift cards, and personal notes this weekend from neighbors from Vineyards on Lake Wylie after breaking both his legs while working his normal route in an Indian Land neighborhood.

Ramon told neighbors he couldn’t believe the generosity and that the personal notes are what meant the most to him.

Ramon can be seen holding a picture of a dog, Jenkins, who would always greet him on his route.

Local neighborhood comes together to help sanitation worker hit by car on the job

A local community came together to help a sanitation worker who broke both his legs on the job after his garbage truck was hit by a car a few weeks ago in Indian Land.

Ramon Fernandez, known as “Ray,” works for Value Waste. The company said the accident happened while Fernandez was collecting trash on his normal route in an Indian Land neighborhood.

The company said he will be in a wheelchair for at least three months.

Neighbors told Channel 9′s Gina Esposito they get excited every time they see a garbage truck coming down the street on Tuesdays, because they’ll get to see Ray, whose positive attitude always brightens their day.

“He’s the guy in the back of the truck. I work from home, so I can hear him when he’s coming around the corner. He’s such a joyful person ... always whooping! You know. In such a fun way!” said neighbor Susie Bernard.

Bernard said when Tuesday came and she didn’t see Fernandez, she started to worry.

“The garbage truck was later than usual and turned out the driver was all alone, and Ray wasn’t with her,” said Bernard.

Bernard’s neighborhood, the Vineyards on Lake Wylie, felt compelled to help Fernandez after residents found out about the accident.

Dozens of residents came together to drop off handwritten letters, gift cards, and cash for Fernandez.

Value Waste told Esposito other neighborhoods are also sending gifts for Fernandez, including a $500 gift card.

Bernard said these acts of kindness are truly incredible. She plans to personally deliver what she has collected to Fernandez.

“We just want to lift his spirits and know that we’re thinking of him ... and we really do miss him. You don’t realize how much joy someone brings in your life on a regular basis until that joy stops coming,” said Bernard.

Troopers with South Carolina Highway Patrol said a juvenile was behind the wheel when they hit Fernandez in the road.

The accident happened on private property — so troopers aren’t citing the driver.

Check back on wsoctv.com for updates.

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