Christmas Presents Thrown Away, Saved at Dump

Christmas Presents Thrown Away, Saved at Dump

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

PAYSON, Utah (AP) -- Presents were saved from the city dump just in the nick of time for one 5-year-old girl left without her parents this Christmas.

The gifts were placed in a black garbage bag and meant to be shipped to the girl in Eugene, Ore. However, they were mistakenly given to the garbage collectors Friday.

It was only after the garbage truck was gone that Judy Lee discovered the black plastic sack was missing. She immediately realized what happened, and the race was on.

Hoping to save the girl's Christmas, she called Payson city landfill superintendent Kent Fowden for help.

The truck that had picked up Lee's garbage was the last load of the day, and though the truck had been emptied, the driver had not compacted the load because it was only partially full.

"She told us what was going on and I told the Cat operators to stop and not push the garbage any more," he said. "We went and sorted through it and found it. It was really great.

"We have a lot of calls about things that are lost in the garbage and this is kind of unique because we did find it uncrushed," he said. "It is almost amazing."

Lee calls it a miracle.

"I just feel so blessed. Those fellows at the dump were an angel for me today. It was a really unpleasant thing they did for me -- it is like a miracle to me, and this little girl will have a great Christmas because of it," she said.

For years, Lee and her family have chosen one child or family to help each Christmas, she said. But after injuring her neck, knee and hand months ago, Lee was laid up for months and had to quit her nursing job.

Still in pain and without much money, Lee said she had decided to forgo the family's usual Christmas tradition.

But then Lee collected $300 and purchased presents for the girl after learning of the child's plight from Diane Worr, her friend in Oregon.

The girl's father suffered a heart attack and is being treated in the Eugene hospital where Worr works, Lee said. The girl's mother died two years ago.

The father's condition deteriorated to the point where he is not responsive, and because he had no other family, his co-workers had to take the girl into their home, Lee said.

Worr suggested that Lee could help by providing clothing and Christmas gifts.

"When I heard about her I just couldn't stand it," Lee said. "So I started making phone calls."

With the $300 Lee's former co-workers at LDS Hospital donated, she bought the girl a dress, two pairs of pants, four shirts and two sweaters.

"The thing she really wanted for Christmas was a Swan Lake Barbie," Lee said. "I was finally able to find one."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast