TOPEKA, Kan. – A Topeka man is being honored for saving someone’s life, while emptying the trash.
Vince Bateman, a Shawnee County Solid Waste Management trash truck driver, shared his story of saving a homeless man’s life after he found him sleeping in the trash bin he was emptying. Bateman said something kept telling him to stop and double check his bin before lifting the container.
It started as just another early morning at work sitting in his front-loader getting ready to dump a trash bin.
“But on that day,” Vince explains, “the Holy Spirit was pressing down on me saying, ‘watch your container, watch your container.'”
Then, Vince spotted a man’s hand inside. So, he put the container back down – possibly saving the man’s life.
Vince says if he would have dumped the container and hit the packer — “that’s 1,500 – 2,000 lbs. per sq. in. coming down on him.”
“That individual is lucky to be alive,” Vince said.
All of the Shawnee County Solid Waste trash bins are locked, indicating the homeless man broke into it.
Bateman said God is the reason he was able to save and help him. Bateman said his story can encourage other people to stop, slow down and pay attention to what is around them.
“People just need to take more time,” Bateman said. “Have compassion for each other. Everybody is in a hurry now. Time to take a little time, and slow down, enjoy life. The anger level, the hatred level towards others. It’s just coming a part. And there’s a lot of rage out there. Even on the roads, when you’re driving you see it. People just need to love one another.”
Bateman also said his story highlights the homelessness problem in the county. He said he is trying to help the homeless stop sleeping in trash cans, so they aren’t risking their lives.
Bateman is active in the community, often serving at nursing homes and non-profits, and participates in the annual Easter Parade and other local events dressed as “Moses.”
See the video here.
– KSNT, WIBW and Metro Voice contributed to this report