Philadelphia sanitation worker returns teen’s iPhone


Glenn Drake says his 13-year-old stepdaughter’s iPhone disappeared last Friday—presumably lost in a snowbank near their Roxborough home. They weren’t sure they would ever see it again.

Then, early the next morning, came the Philadelphia sanitation crew from the nearby Domino Lane station with a 53-year-old Derrick Phillips on the back of the truck.

“So I was dumping the can and I looked—you know—watching my step and I see this phone down there. I said, ‘Oh man, someone’s dropped their phone!'”

Phillips took it home, dried it off and thawed it out, and then with the help of a coworker found the phone’s number and called the Drakes Sunday morning.

“I said, ‘I’m a sanitation worker and I found this phone and it said, ‘If lost, call this number.'”

Phillips and Drake met at Domino Lane and the phone was returned.

Both Drake and Phillips saw our December report on the city recycling truck worker who allegedly snatched a package off the front steps of a Philly row home. Phillips, in particular, cringed. He’s been a trash truck laborer for a dozen years—up well before dawn in the bitter cold and ice and snow to keep city neighborhoods clean. That theft footage makes him angry.

Drake is a retired Philly firefighter who knows that city workers sometimes get a bad rap. He posted news of the incident on his Facebook page, offering Phillips a big “thank you” for what he called “a simple gesture which saved us a bundle of money and hassle.”

“Good people. There’s good people everywhere. You just have to find them,” he said.