Jose Alberto Gutierrez of Bogota, Colombia is a sanitation worker who rose far beyond the calling of his work. Most sanitation men will make sure your street and town are clean and we owe them a lot of appreciation for that. But Jose Alberto wasn’t satisfied with just making the city of Bogota clean. 20 years ago he found a classic book in the garbage and retrieved it. The book was Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. He found himself feeling so good after saving the book that he started to retrieve any book in readable condition from the refuse he collected. He managed to save over 20,000 books from ending up in the town garbage dump over the past 20 years! (That’s an average of over 3 books a day for 20 years!)
Gutierrez living in the poor section in southern Bogota had no intention of keeping this wealth to himself. In his area people have no money to buy books so he stored the books in his house all these years creating what he calls “The Power of Words Library” which is open to his townsfolk. Every weekend his house id full of people seeking books to study or read.
Seeing that his house is overflowing with books, Gutierrez started sending books to other poor areas in Colombia where books are considered a rare treat. BBC, who reported the story, said that even former FARC rebels that want to get back into society and civilian life turned to him for books and were received kindly.
All these books also affected Gutierrez personally; this summer he is taking tests to receive his high school diploma after skipping out on the tests in high school.