Derwin Drost says he appreciates the support he has received after he dislocated his elbow in a recent fall. 

Drost used to make the trek back and forth across the Fredericton bridge, pushing a bike with a cart piled high with recyclable cans and bottles. He would cash them in to supplement his disability pension.

After the fall on a slippery sidewalk he couldn't handle the work any longer. He was worried he wouldn't be able to pay his power bill. Then came the cards.

"It's from a lady, she says she seen me on TV," Drost said as he read from the card. "This is to help you while your hand heals."  The card came with a cheque, says Drost.

Derwin Drost

Derwin Drost reads one of the many cards he received after a recent fall left him with a dislocated elbow. (Catharine Harrop/CBC)

"This one here, is from a lady by the name of Maureen and her friends," Drost read, picking up another card with a splash of colourful flowers.

That card also came with a cheque and a wish for a 'speedy recovery.'

Drost says his neighbours have dropped off sweets, and empties for his growing collection, which he sorts slowly by hand.

But not everything has been good. Someone stole recyclables dropped off for him.

Drost says years of picking up empties on the city streets have hardened him to expect meanness, but it was the kindness that took him by surprise.

"I was, I was...I didn't expect it. There were so many people out there that really cared for me, and appreciated what I did. But, I guess they do. And it makes me feel good. I've never been appreciated like that in 53 years." 

Drost is hoping his arm will be more usable in a few weeks.

He admits he's aching to get back at it.

"I just want to get back out, and...clean the city up," Drost said.