Hero Mom Goes Way Beyond Call of Duty to Rescue Daughter’s Wedding Dress From the New York City Trash

By  | 

trash-wedding-dress-dumpsterMy daughter and pretty dresses are two of my very favorite things in the world. But if my daughter accidentally threw away her wedding dress and it was lost in a New York City garbage dump, I would not go after it. I would just be all, “LOL, nope” and I would put my feet up and be glad the dress waited until after the wedding to get lost.

Lucinda Ballard is a braver woman than I, though, because when that happened to her daughter’s extraordinarily expensive dress, she braved rats and human heads and whatever other horrible things are in the New York trash, and she dug the dress out.

According to The New York Post, Ballard’s daughter, also named Lucinda, got married in Nantucket in a white Oscar de la Renta gown. After the wedding, the bride left for her honeymoon and Ballard brought the dress and other things back to the family’s Park Avenue residence. (The Ballards are evidently very fancy people.)

“We had driven it back from the wedding and we were exhausted so . . . we handed it over [to building staff] to be taken up with our luggage,” she said.

One of the building staff, however, mistook the dress for trash and threw it away. Ballard says it was a totally understandable mistake, but that she was horrified by the loss of her daughter’s beautiful and very expensive gown. (Oscar de la Renta wedding gowns start at around $4,000.)

“How could I let this happen?” Ballard said. “I thought, ‘This dress is a symbol of a beautiful love story. I can’t get let it go to garbage heaven.’”

The building superintendent called the Department of Sanitation and managed to figure out exactly which garbage truck the dress had been loaded onto. Then Ballard, the superintendent, and a building handyman all drove out and managed to beat the truck to the dump in New Jersey. Because they managed to catch the truck before it dumped its load, they were able to go through the bags and try to find the dress.

“We were ripping through these bags — wearing masks, high boots and gloves. I was moving quickly, going, ‘No dress, keep going’,” Ballard said. Some photos were also taken.

In the end the building superintendent was the hero who found the dress, which was perfectly fine and protected in its plastic bag and not damaged at all.

“It was not destroyed!” said Ballard. “And it doesn’t smell of the 10 tons of garbage dumped on it.”

When Ballard sent her daughter the photos of the dumpster dive and revealed all the drama that had ensued, the bride was flabbergasted. She posted the photos to Instagram with the caption, “My hero!”

Since they did find the dress in the end, the adventure makes a pretty good story for Ballard, but I certainly can’t say I’d do the same. But maybe I’m selling myself short. I mean, $4,000 is $4,000. Even used and accidentally thrown in the back of a New York garbage truck, that dress is still probably worth about $2,000. If any of us threw out $2,000, we’d probably look for it, even if we had to dig through the trash.

It is unclear what exactly will happen to the dress now. Maybe the bride will sell it, or maybe it will be heirloomed and then stuffed in a closet in the Ballards’ home somewhere for another 20 or 30 years. Maybe someone else will want to wear it someday, but maybe not. Still, Mrs. Ballard’s heroism has been preserved for posterity on Instagram.

(Photo:  jonathanfilskov-photography/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)