Terence Taylor’s week by the numbers: Three kittens saved from the trash, and 6 million views on TikTok.
The Weidle Sanitation worker was filling in for a colleague Tuesday, doing a run other than his usual one while a driver was being trained. At around 8 a.m., as he was stopped at a house in the Jonestown area, he heard a high-pitched muffled noise from the back of the truck.
Initially Taylor thought it was a smoke detector submerged under the water. Not familiar with that sound? Well, you probably aren’t in the sanitation industry.
“In our business people throw smoke detectors away all the time.”
Taylor said that his antennas were up though, and as he tried to locate the source of the noise, he saw a bag move. “Alright, there’s something going on here,” he said of his thoughts at the time. That’s when Taylor started digging – and filming.
Taylor discovered the first kitten and placed him in the truck. Upon returning to the truck, he found a second kitten, a small female. At that point he ended up putting his phone down, as he had a hunch there could be another in there. Taylor said he took out nearly all the trash that was in the back of the truck and found a third kitten in the water.
He also swept through the water to make sure there were no others after that. By this point, the truck was completely empty – and the person whose house the truck happened to be stopped at noticed the commotion.
The homeowner provided Taylor with a box and a blanket, and Taylor made a quick detour to his home, where his fiancé Jenna Gingrich was able to give the kittens a bath and some TLC while he finished his route.
Taylor does not know which house the kittens originated from, except that it definitely wasn’t the house where they had stopped.
Once Taylor had completed his route, he and Gingrich took the kittens to the Humane Society of Lebanon County. Between discovery and drop-off, in just a few short hours, those kittens had a complete reversal of fate. With a bit of luck, the Humane Society had room, and also was fortuitously able to place the kittens the next day into a foster home, where they are being nurtured by another mother cat.
Taylor said the kittens were estimated to be about three weeks old.
“Right now, they’re too young to be adopted, so we have them in a foster home,” said Jill Boyd, a receptionist with the humane society. “They will probably be in foster care until they’re about 10-12 weeks, or when they reach three pounds – then they can get spayed or neutered and adopted out.”
Boyd noted there are plenty of other cats and dogs available for adoption currently, as well as a couple of bunnies. All of the animals are listed on the organization’s website.
Taylor notes that he and Gingrich would likely have taken the kittens in themselves, if not for their own cat being within a couple months of her own pregnancy.
You might be tempted to think this is an extremely rare occurrence, but Taylor said sadly it’s not as uncommon as you would hope. “Sometimes it’s on purpose; on the other hand, sometimes it’s an accident,” said Taylor. “You get to situations like this and you don’t know what it was.”
“It’s one of the questions you won’t be able to answer – but you’re obviously glad they’re safe and sound.”
Taylor said the rest of his Tuesday route was pretty normal. “I felt better that I did something more in my day than just work,” he said. But in the days since then, the off-the-cuff video Taylor took on the job has blown up and reached a truly massive audience – more than 6 million views on TikTok, plus a million likes and over 25,000 comments.
“I can’t even describe it,” said Taylor of the experience going viral.
“It’s amazing the words that people are giving me, but there are people a lot more deserving than me.”
Taylor said he’s heard from people who happened to see the video first, then realize they knew the voice behind it second. A common thread between those reactions is that people were proud to see Taylor’s response to the situation, including the owners of Weidle Sanitation, who caught wind of the everyday heroism while on vacation and happening to see that it was their brand in the viral clip.
Taylor said it wasn’t his first TikTok, but he in no way expected it to blow up this much. He initially started TikTokking to help keep morale up amongst the crew and share the small pranks and jokes that keep life on the route upbeat.
“It’s just nuts.”
For the original TikTok posts, find @turboterry77 on TikTok and stay tuned for future “chronicles of a trashman.”
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