San Francisco garbage collector staying positive while city shelters in place during coronavirus outbreak

SAN FRANCISCO -- While San Francisco and other communities shelter in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, one garbage collector out on the streets every day is determined to say positive.

Aaron Meier, 50, empties 800 garbage cans every day, rain or shine. He first caught the world's attention with a viral tweet last week as Americans were just beginning to come to terms with the pandemic and what it would mean for their livelihoods.

"I'm a garbageman, I can't work from home and my job is an essential city service that must get done," he tweeted. "It's a tough job, from getting up pre-dawn to the physical toll it takes on my body to the monotonous nature of the job, at times it's hard to keep on going."

He continued: "Right now though, right now I am feeling an extra sense of pride and purpose as I do my work. I see the people, my people, of my city, peeking out their windows at me. They're scared, we're scared. Scared but resilient."

"Us garbagemen are gonna keep collecting the garbage, doctors and nurses are gonna keep doctoring and nurse-ering. It's gonna be ok, we're gonna make it be ok. I love my city. I love my country. I love my planet Earth. Be good to each other and we'll get through this," Meier concluded, capping off a Twitter thread that garnered more than half a million likes.

One person was so moved by Meier's words that wrote back and called him a gem, saying it would "be an honor to shake your hand after I've washed mine."

Meier's hours have shifted even earlier in the morning to limit his exposure to others, but his positivity and sense of duty remain.

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"If it doesn't get done," he said of his work, "nobody in the city could get their work done because they'd have garbage in their way."

"It started feeling more important to me -- like I needed to help the people of my city -- and I'm doing it for them," Meier added.

See Aaron Meier's full story Friday morning on "Good Morning America" on ABC.

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