The Traveling Toilet arrived on the front lawn of the Harlem Police Department on Thursday, much to the surprise of Chief Jerry Baldwin. The toilet, which was placed at the station after someone paid $10 to have it put there, is a fund-raiser for the city's American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Jean Dove and Kathy Watts went into the Harlem Police Department on Thursday morning to report some graffiti outside to the chief.
The graffiti was all a scheme to surprise Chief Jerry Baldwin with the Traveling Toilet on the front lawn. He was definitely surprised that someone had paid $10 to have the toilet perched in front of the department for the day, he said.
"I really appreciate it," Baldwin said sarcastically. "But, I have a few ideas who did it."
The Traveling Toilet is an actual commode from the Harlem Fire Department that has become a fundraiser for the Harlem Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society annual event.
Anyone can pay $10 to have the toilet sent to someone. Once in the yard, the resident can pay $10 to have it removed and sent to someone else. But, once it arrives, it stays for at least 24 hours, said Dove, a co-chairwoman of the event.
The toilet arrives with the bowl filled with purple flowers, a Relay for Life t-shirt around the back and a For Rent sign with the phone number.
Baldwin said he planned on returning the favor to one of the three culprits he believes sent the toilet to him.
The Traveling Toilet made it's first stop on Mayor Scott Dean's front porch Friday night. It has spent time in the yard of city councilman Johnny Thigpen nd State House representative Barry Fleming along with many others.
David Bullard, a Harlem firefighter, is the unofficial toilet transporter. He totes it from yard to yard, most mornings with help from the city's Public Works Department and other volunteers.
The toilet received 12 paid requests in the first week.
"It has worked out real well," Dove said of the fundraiser. Everyone seems to think its fun, too.
The toilet will continue it's pilgrimage around Harlem until the Relay for Life kick off on April 25.
For more information, or to surprise someone with the Traveling Toilet, call Harlem City Hall at 556-3448.
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