A man survived for more than three hours in the back of a refuse van after being scooped up as he fished his wallet out of a bin.
The lucky man, who has not been named, used pieces of wood to clamber to the top to the rubbish to stop himself being squashed by pressure compactors, as other bins were picked up and litter dumped on top of him.
He only escaped after the van arrived at a landfill site and dumped its load at which point a worker spotted the stunned man - just seconds before the pile of rubbish was due to be bulldozed.
The amazing journey began on Tuesday afternoon at around 1pm when the man was looking for his wallet inside a rubbish bin parked up outside a home in Yolo, California.
A truck was making its routine pick-up at the same time and as it got to the bin, the man was till inside as it was picked up and tipped into the back.
Speaking to the Oroville Mercury Register, Yolo County Sheriff’s Lt. Martin Torres said: "The man said he was stuck in the truck for about an hour, but estimates show it was more like 3 or 3 1/2 hours.
“The truck made several other pick-ups before arriving at the landfill, where the driver saw the man crawl out of his trash pile.”
Lt Torres said that it was near the end of the working day so the van was not very full, but if it had been earlier in the day with more trash, the contents would have been squashed by a blade.
He said: “The trucks use pressure to compact the trash, so he could have been squashed.
"The man said he used lumber found in the trash to try to pull himself to the top and avoid being compacted."