This post is part of #the100dayproject that encourages creatives to do an action every day for 100 days. I've chosen to write an article or blog post every day. Previous posts for this project can be found here.
I saw him every Friday morning. He rode a tricycle around town with a large trash bag attached to the back. He stopped by every dumpster in town to collect aluminum cans in exchange for money.
I first noticed Esteban Silva when I worked for the newspaper. He would ride by the large windows in the newsroom, and when I moved into town, I would save him bags filled with cans next to the dumpster in front of my house.
Sometimes if I saw him out there, I would personally hand him a bag or two. He always said thank you.
I tried to get to know him, but he only spoke Spanish and my Spanish sucks. Because of our language barrier, I only learned his name.
I tried to take his photo when he rode by the newsroom, but something would always come up. The phone would ring. Someone would stop by the office. A truck would block his way in the alley. It seemed I would never get that photo.
Then one day, he rode by. There were no trucks. The phone wasn't ringing. I was in the middle of chatting with my editor when I stopped mid-convo, grabbed my phone and took three quick photos of Esteban riding by the window. It wasn't the ideal situation, but I got the shot.
It was about a year after I took that photo when Justice of the Peace David Beebe broke the news to me that Esteban passed away. I was working a Monday morning shift at the coffeeshop. It broke my heart as well as the rest of the town. Turns out, I wasn't the only one who not only noticed his efforts but also saved cans for him as well.