Fact Check

Did a Garbage Truck Violently Throw a Woman off a Bench?

The video was viewed on TikTok around 12 million times in just three days.

Published May 17, 2021

 (WHAM-TV/Shop Smart)
Image courtesy of WHAM-TV/Shop Smart
A video shows a woman being violently thrown off a bus stop bench by a garbage truck collection arm.

In mid-May 2021, a video appeared on TikTok that showed a woman being violently thrown off a bus stop bench by a garbage truck.

It was viewed nearly 12 million times in just three days.

The video, which used the "Oh No" music, was originally recorded on July 29, 2020, in Rochester, New York.

Not a Prank Video

We've seen no shortage of fake videos and prank clips over the years. However, this was a genuine occurrence caught on video by a Shop Smart store camera.

On Sept. 15, 2020, Rochester-based WROC-TV published the video to its YouTube channel:

According to WHAM-TV, which is also based in Rochester, the woman in the video is a local resident named Nicola Hustleby. The garbage truck was operated by the City of Rochester.

The article said that she was a "regular" on the South Avenue bench where she waited each morning to take a bus to go to breakfast.


"I was just sitting there drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, and bam! All of a sudden, I was just jolted down and thrown on the street," she recalled.

Almost three months after the event, Hustleby told WHAM-TV that she still had pain in her elbow from the fall.

"I could walk. At least I didn't need a hospital," Hustleby said. She also described that she initially had a "very deep" cut and incision.

The TikTok video identified her as a "granny," but it was unclear if she was, in fact, a grandmother.

The City of Rochester Responds

In September 2020, city officials began looking into the incident. WHAM-TV reported:

The timestamp on the video purportedly shows the incident taking place in July, however, Karen St. Aubin, director of the Bureau of Operations for the city, says she was not made aware of it until late last month.


Looking at the video, she believes this was a case of operator error, and that the arm used to collect the litter bin did not have enough room.

"We go over this with our operators all the time," she said, "and we remind them that, anything you're servicing, you’ve got to make sure you have distance from anything that’s there."

Hustleby learned that the city was trying to locate her to learn more about the dangerous occurrence.

She told WHAM-TV, with a laugh: "I'll take the number you give me and I'll call them and say, 'I'm perfectly fine but I want money.'"

In sum, the video of a garbage truck collection arm's violently throwing a woman off a bus stop bench was real. It was not a faked prank video.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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