Meanwhile in Louisiana: Sanitation Workers Rescue 10-Year-Old From Kidnapper, Perfect Heroes to Take Out Trash

Finally, some good news. If you’ve ever been hanging out with a group of friends when suddenly, everyone’s phone starts beeping, you probably know what an AMBER alert is. But did you know that America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (a nifty backronym) was actually named in honor of Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old Texas girl who was abducted while riding her bicycle back in 1996? In Louisiana this week, her namesake emergency response system just saved another life – with a little help from two unlikely heroes.

Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine had just started their morning shift when they spotted a silver Nissan parked in the middle of a field near St. Martin Parish. The sight immediately raised a parade of red flags. Merrick had seen the Amber Alert the day before and remembered the make and model of the suspect’s vehicle. Spidey senses tingling, he wrenched his Pelican Waste and Debris truck off the highway and came to a screeching halt, trapping the suspect in the field. Then he dialed 911 and stepped out of his truck.

“I didn’t want anything to happen to her,” Merrick told reporters. “We’re all from the same town. We’re a big community, it might be a small town, but we’re a close-knit community so I had to do what I had to do for my community.”

Getting rolled on by a giant garbage truck must have startled the alleged abductor because he jumped out of his car to see what the hell was going on. What he saw was two sanitation professionals coming to take out the trash. With nowhere to run, Michael Sereal was quickly apprehended.

Sereal, a registered sex offender, clearly hasn’t learned from his past mistakes, for he was heard yelling “Why are you doing this to me?” as authorities hauled him away. While Sereal can’t be trusted to make good decisions, thankfully, two quick-thinking paladins of refuse can be. And because of that, a 10-year-old girl was safely returned to her family.

Let’s give it up for the hardworking men of sanitation. In fact, next time you see your local truck coming to grab your bins, give them a wave hello and a nod of appreciation. These heroes of human detritus keep our streets clean in more ways than one.

Cover Photo: Pelican Waste and Debris

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