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California woman reaches milestone by grabbing 1 million butts

Sally Dawley, also known as the Butt Lady of Auburn, hit the 1 million mark in picking up cigarette butts at Mel's Diner in Auburn, California. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A California woman reached a milestone this week. Total number of butts grabbed: One million.

What were you thinking?

We're talking about cigarette butts and the city of Auburn's official "butt lady," Sally Dawley.

Since October 2014, Dawley has scoured parking lots, streets, and areas around restaurants and bars, looking for the trash left behind by smokers, KOVR-TV reported.

“I’m just overwhelmed and shocked that I had to pick up this many,” Dawley told the TV station.

How does she keep track of them?

Dawley sweeps up the butts and uses a clicker to count each one.

“I’ve had days where I’ve picked up 3,000 butts, in one day, and it’s like, come on people,” she told KOVR-TV.

On Valentine's Day, Dawley hit the 1 million butt mark.

“I’m proud to be the Butt Lady of Auburn; I just didn’t realize I’d get all the fame,” she told KOVR-TV.

Her day in the spotlight arrived in the parking lot of Mel’s Diner.

“And that’s 1 million!” Dawley said before a cheering crowd of admirers who gathered at the restaurant.

Tony Metteer, the owner of Mel’s Diner, said Dawley's service to the city is inspiring.

"To think how much of her life she spends picking up cigarette butts, that’s pretty incredible," he told the TV station.

How can others get involved?

Other cities have even asked Dawley to help. But perhaps more people will simply catch on and follow her example.

“There’s a lot of people that if they would just look for opportunities to make a difference in the world, it would be a much better place,” Metteer said.

The city of Auburn has helped Dawley's efforts by placing cigarette receptacles near bars and restaurants, according to the TV station's report.

“So excited and proud of her,” said Eula Marriott, Dawley’s cousin.

Still, Dawley believes there's a better solution.

“I would like people to take in the message, that don’t throw the butts and maybe don’t smoke,” Dawley said.

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