Greatest Person: Cookie Bundy
The street ambassador helps clean Germantown Avenue.
Cookie Bundy had to go through a fair amount before coming to work at the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) as one of its street ambassadors.
As part of the job, Bundy walks up and down Germantown Avenue from Washington Lane to Cresheim Valley Road two to three times a day. That distance is just short of two miles, so Bundy walks about six miles per day during the week, cleaning up the Avenue and doing various other maintenance tasks in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.
"It keeps me young," Bundy said.
He works directly for the BID, which employs him and another worker, Derrick Roberson.
Bundy, however, is appreciative of the work he's been able to do for the BID. He was first referred to the organization by his brother, Juan Cruz, who was an avenue ambassador at the time. (Cruz is currently out on workers compensation.)
Before that, though, Bundy was in jail after being involved in a gun-related incident.
He said he was spending time with his family one day several years ago and enjoying himself. At the time, he was holding down two jobs.
"I was doing pretty good," he said.
He realized, however, because he was intoxicated, that he shouldn't be driving. So he gave his keys to someone else.
The next thing he saw, however, was after he woke up. Police were arresting people, and a gun had been found inside Bundy's car.
The incident caused Bundy to receive a sentence of four to eight years in prison. When he got out of jail, he went to live in a halfway house.
His brother was already working for the BID at that time, so Bundy was able to go and fill out an application to work there. Soon afterward, he was meeting with Elizabeth Moselle from Mt. Airy USA and with BID board members.
"They pretty much told me could I be a good worker as far as the company goes," Bundy said.
He began to work as an ambassador in September 2010 and hasn't looked back. Aside from picking up trash, he helps trim grass from the edges of the sidewalk and often does favors for businesses or others along the Avenue—things that are outside his job description. He also helped install flower baskets that now line the thoroughfare.
He also does a daily report. He's impressed his supervisors, who consider Bundy a part of what resembles a close-knit family.
"I've supervised a lot, and these two (Bundy and Cruz) are the most dedicated employees I have ever seen," BID Executive Director Hollie Malamud-Price said. "They take so much pride—it is amazing. Not everyone could clean the streets day in and day out."