Craig Pentico is the kind of guy who can keep smiling no matter how much garbage people dish out.

A Salt Lake County garbage collector for nine years, he believes a little courtesy can generate a lot of good will, and many residents in the Millcreek area agree.When was the last time you left a full garbage can on the curb in the morning and came home in the evening to find it empty and neatly placed by the garage?

If Pentico is your garbage man, chances are it happens every week.

"The cans are always upright and placed by the garage," said Robert Lundberg, a resident on Pentico's route. "If you have a little more garbage than usual he doesn't complain about it. He's not a griper.

"I've never talked to the man myself, but he just seems to be real good."

Lundberg was one of 32 residents who recently signed a letter to the county commending Pentico for his courtesy. The letter resulted in an award from the County Commission.

"I guess you put forth a little effort and it gets noticed," Pentico said.

A 28-year-old father of two, with one more expected any day, Pentico makes sure people with garbage are not treated like trash. He nimbly jumps from his truck at each house, empties the cans and places them by the house.

He said he started making extra efforts because he worried about surviving layoffs. Since then, he has learned the joy of making others happy, even if it takes slightly longer to finish his route.

"You look at some of these old people, they're always getting picked on," he said, noting that one woman on his route recently broke her hip and another became a widow. These are people who might have difficulty walking to the curb and carrying their cans back to the house.

"I'm more or less looking after myself. It's job security. But I'm also happy to help people out," he said.

Garbage collecting is not easy, but Pentico manages to keep a good attitude.

"You've got to have an attitude about it," he said. "My body aches. It's been doing that for years. But while I'm here I'll do the best I can."