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The I-280 Clean-Up Volunteers And The Crazy Thing They Found

A note from Mr. Roadshow: I love getting monthly emails from Loui Tucker, the San Jose woman who has led an Adopt-A-Highway cleanup crew on Interstate 280 and I-880 near Valley Fair mall for 11 years. Read on for the latest from her. Q Two weeks ago we found three checks totaling over $20,000 from the Santa Clara County Assessor near an onramp. The envelopes had been mailed 10 days earlier. We returned them to the address listed. The man who answered the door said someone had stolen his mailbox. Not just his mail — the entire mailbox. A happy ending for this homeowner! Loui Tucker A And more from Loui.

Q Here’s what else we found:

  • A brown fleece blanket. We’ll wash it and our dogs will love it.

  • The usual assortment of stolen debit cards. (For security reasons, they return those to the banks or destroy them.)

  • A man’s Pronto Uomo faux leather motorcycle jacket ($60 online); size large, good condition.

  • Three plastic water bottles full of — eeeuuww — used chewing tobacco.

  • A cute doll with a mass of bright fuchsia hair. She’s a little the worse for wear, and it took a while to get all the leaves and twigs out, but we will donate her and some little girl or boy will think she’s wonderful.

Loui Tucker A Loui, why do you and your merry band do this? Q I don’t think any of our regular volunteers can explain why we do this month after month. It’s dirty and tiring, and it puts us in contact with trash and litter, an activity most people cannot fathom doing. And we are out on the side of the freeway walking along a few yards from large vehicles going too fast. And yet, somehow, it is satisfying filling those bags and seeing the pile of them when we’re done. We drive by the cleaned area; we smile. We sit around having lunch afterward and talk about the odd things we found or saw. On a really good day, we also make someone else very happy by returning a lost item. And me, I get a kick out of adding up the numbers: How many bags this month (25), how many bags this year (129), how many bags since I started these pickups (almost 4,200), how much cash ($1,648.71), etc.

For more about this, check out:

For more on the monthly Adopt-A-Highway pickup or to join them, checkout:


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