Watch This Heroic Garbage Collector Save 3 Kittens Who Were Discarded in the Back of His Truck

View from the back of an orange kitten who's being held near a driveway
View from the back of an orange kitten who's being held near a driveway

Courtesy of turboterry77 / TikTok

Trash collectors are more than just vital community workers or a sweet wrestling gimmick. Sometimes, they're guardian angels. That was the case for three kittens in Lebanon, Pa., who found themselves callously discarded, only to be rescued by their friendly neighborhood garbage man.

In a TikTok posted to his turboterry77 account Wednesday, Lebanon sanitation worker Terrance Taylor paused his collection day when something caught his attention while emptying a trash along his route.

"I hear this—it's kind of hard to describe—a high-pitched, muffled noise," Taylor says in a follow-up video.

Likening the sound to a smoke detector underwater, he was about to ignore it until he saw a bag moving.

"As soon as I seen that, obviously I lift the bag up, and boom, there's the orange kitten number one," he says.

It's that first kitten that causes Taylor to fire up his phone's camera and begin recording a TikTok.

(Just a warning to anyone watching at work or in public: salty language alert)

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"Here we go with the chronicles of a trash man," Taylor says at the beginning of the video, as he's walking to the back of his truck. As he comes around the corner to the rear, we can already hear the forceful mews of a kitten trapped in the discarded trash. Moving a couple of bags aside, Taylor reaches into the back of the truck and pulls a wet, filthy kitten from the mess.

Bedraggled but with eyes open and a strong pair of lungs, the kitten flails slightly as Taylor holds him close. We next see Taylor walking back to the rear of the truck after depositing the kitten on his passenger seat. He reaches into the fresh trash and withdraws a second kitten, equally wet and dirty, but just as alive and well. He carries kitten No. 2 up to the passenger door of his truck's cab and sets her on the passenger seat next to her sibling.

According to the caption on the video, Taylor actually found a third kitten in the trash as well, though it wasn't recorded in the original video.

"I put my phone down and I went into high gear," he says in the follow-up video. "Emptying out all the trash that's in the back of the truck."

In response to several comments asking for an update, Taylor posted a follow-up video on Thursday, showing all three kittens—two orange kittens and one orange and white—lying on blankets and receiving snuggles from a young girl.

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"They are all safe and doing great!" the video caption assures everyone. They have names, too: Ginger, Cinnamon, and Clover.

Finally, at the end of his third video, Taylor says he took the kittens to the local humane society and had them checked out. The staff there said they were all healthy and about 3 weeks old. Taylor goes on to say all three kittens were placed in a foster home with a mother cat who had a litter of her own about the same age as Taylor's foundlings. The mama has accepted Ginger, Cinnamon, and Clover as her own.

"I really didn't realize this video would blow up the way it did," Taylor says of the original video, which now has 9.7 million views. "I shouldn't get attention like this because it never should have happened."