June 15 2020

DPW Worker Assists Resident Recover Phone in Busy Intersection

By: Rich Hosford

A member of the Burlington Department of Public Works (DPW) recently went out of his way to help a resident recover her lost phone after a mishap saw it abandoned in a busy intersection. 


Zarah Axelrod, of Burlington, wrote a letter to Town Administrator Paul Sagarino explaining the situation and how it played out. She said that while playing with her daughter she placed her cell phone on the bumper of her car. Not knowing this, her husband took the car for a trip to the grocery store, inadvertently taking the phone with him for a bit of a ride. 


After she noticed what had happened she got in contact with her husband who said he had noticed that a street sweeper had turned onto Mill Street after he had driven by and speculated the phone might have been swept up into the machine. 


“We saw the street sweeper and I waved him down and he stopped and I asked him if there was any way to know if he swept up my phone,” Axelrod wrote. “He immediately offered to take it to the salt station to dump it and check.”


She wrote that she followed the DPW employee, later identified as Anthony DeSimone, to the station but on the way there spotted her lost phone in the intersection of Winn Street and Cambridge Street. She jumped out of the car and waved to the driver that she had seen her phone. At this point she said she expected him to just leave but instead he took it upon himself to retrieve it from the busy intersection. 


“He swung around to the turn lane and during the green light he turned (I was assuming to go back to his route on Mill) BUT he stopped and grabbed my phone then brought it over to me,” she wrote. “Honestly, I feel like he was my hero today. I don't know how I would have gotten in that intersection to retrieve my phone without him. He really went above and beyond today and I will never forget his kindness.”


Because of the letter the incident was raised at a Board of Selectmen meeting where members said it was an example of the type of employees that work for the town. 


“DPW did a great job but Anthony DeSimone went above and beyond,” Selectman Jim Tigges said. “He did everything for our resident’s cell phone. When you talk about the fact that we have the best employees this is one of the little things that I’m sure happens everyday but doesn’t get mentioned. It makes all of our town employees look great.” 


“It’s great to get a letter like that and we know our employees are there doing great things like this everyday but it’s great to hear from a resident when something like this happens,” Town Administrator Paul Sagarino added.


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