Christmas Gifts Cement Friendship Between Trash Hauler, Tulsa Homeowner

Wednesday, December 15th 2010, 5:52 pm
By: News On 6

Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Most of us put our trash cans out in the morning, and when we come home at night they're empty.

During the day, an anonymous someone has come by in a big truck and hauled it off.

One of Oklahoma's Own not only knows his trash man - over the years they've become good friends.

At Ray and Dorothy Crane's house, Doug Hobbs is giving a tour of the many hand-made gifts Ray has given him over the years.

"Most of them have got his initials on them," he said.

"At Christmas time instead of giving him cash or something like that - I'm a wood carver - I've carved him little Santa Clauses, or carousel horses or made him different things," said Ray Crane.

Doug is Ray's trash man. But much more than that, Doug is Ray's friend. Their friendship started more than 20 years ago after Doug and his crew helped Ray get a heavy piece of equipment into his garage.

"After that we've talked lots of times while he's picking up trash," Ray said.

Those regular conversations have blossomed into a solid friendship.

"We've been pretty good friends for 22 years," Doug said. "I've went to his 80th birthday party."

And Ray, a city guy, went to Doug's farm to learn how to bale hay.

"It was educational for me, he said.

So that's the friendship, and every year Ray makes something for Doug: one year a bird house, a hand carved fork and spoon, or a horse, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

"My wife every year puts out a table of Christmas decoration, and those are always out," Doug said.

And she told him not to forget to bring them home again, after he showed them to us. Doug was featured in a Tulsa World article earlier this year, and a framed copy of the article is Ray's gift this year his good friend who also happens to pick up his trash.

Doug Hobbs is one of several dozen independent haulers who make up Tulsa Refuse Inc. They handle 75 percent of Tulsa's trash and recycling pickup.