For 30 years service, Robbie immortalised on a garbage truck
ROBBIE Salkeld has spent more than half of his life working as a garbage truck driver for Lismore City Council.
The 57-year-old Lismore man, nicknamed "Wooluf" due to his bushy hair and beard, has driven for more than three decades and does not plan to quit anytime soon.
"I've been living in Lismore almost my whole life," Mr Salkeld said.
"I ended up in a cleaner job first before eventually going on the garbage run. And I was on the road gang for a bit," he said.
"It's a good job. People give you a wave, the kids come out, and I enjoy when they come out, too. It makes them happy.
"Originally, they only had little garbage tins you picked up, went round the back of the houses, ran it to the back of the truck. I was very fit then."
The modest, hard-working man was bowled over last Thursday, when the council and his colleagues decided to plaster his face across the side of his truck as a surprise, in honour of his years of service.
"I had to take the truck in for a service Wednesday. It was a couple of hours over, so I picked it up Thursday morning," he said.
"I was kicking tyres, walking down the left side ... didn't notice much.
"Then I look up and 'bloody hell', I'm plastered on the side of the truck.
"I was real grateful and surprised, but they didn't have to go that far. It's good they did it though."
Mr Salkeld said he had seen some funny sights over the years, including residents chasing the truck with bin in tow.
"It's usually the woman of the house ... usually running down in a nightgown or something," he chuckled.
"I was also driving down the road one day, Christmas Day, and I heard these people mucking around.
"And here's this topless crowd of women over the fence waving at me.
"I'll never forget that one."
The experienced driver said people were often wasteful, especially in an age of throw-away electronics, but sometimes one person's trash was another's treasure.
"I wonder about it. There's a lot of stuff out at the Revolve Centre people are throwing out for some little reason," he said.
"I know a bloke who picked up a 240V generator and all he did was clean the carburettor and put fuel in and away it went.
"A hell of a lot of electronics - give them away to charity instead."
So, how can you help our garbos?
"Please don't park your cars really close to the bins. We don't want to scratch them. Park a few metres away," Mr Salkeld said.
"And be wary around the truck. I've seen many close calls. It's a big truck and doesn't stop in a hurry.
"When I get a clear area I'll pull over and let you pass."
Mr Salkeld said he'd "stick around for as long as I can".
"The older I get, the more trouble I get in," he said.