Ryan Sutter is happy to be back at work for the first time in six months… even though someone spit on his firetruck just hours into the shift.
The former reality TV favorite, a firefighter in Colorado, had been away from the fire station and the job since mid-2021. In between now and then, Ryan — who won the very first season of "The Bachelorette" and is married to its star, Trista Sutter — has undergone knee replacement surgery and ankle replacement surgery.
"I took a walk today. After two major surgeries and nearly six months, yesterday was my first day back in the firehouse. So I walked and I reflected," he said on Instagram on Jan. 24. "It was a good day back on the job."
Reflecting on all the ups and downs of day one of his return to duty, Ryan, 47, wrote, "At one point a wide eyed young boy and his parents stopped by to see the firetruck. At another, a young adult purposefully spit on our engine as he drove by on his scooter. We were stopped at an intersection after returning from a car accident and apparently he doesn't like firefighters?"
The latter might make some people upset, but not Ryan. In fact, he still called it the "best job ever."
"Both instances made me proud of what we do. This job isn't easy – not these days and not in this climate. But it's a tremendous opportunity, an opportunity to be challenged, to be humbled and to be taught that, despite our differences, we are all humans in this life – together in at least that much," he said. "So we get to meet, inspire and render speechless young children (and sometimes their parents too). We also get to respond repeatedly to people who need help – for any reason and at any time – even if they just spit on our fire engine from their scooter. What a job! It's great to be back…"
Following his post, Trista commented, "Love your perspective. Love you."
Ryan's health has been a concern for several years. In late 2020, Trista revealed her husband had been in a five-month health battle with a mystery illness that had left him "paralyzed" with fatigue.
In May 2021, Ryan announced that he'd been diagnosed with Lyme disease triggered by high levels of mold toxins in his body — something he encountered because of his work as a firefighter.
"It seems to be that what happened is that my immune system was weakened through exposures to toxins and especially to mold," he explained on his wife's "Better Etc." podcast. "There are other people in the fire academy that probably had the same exposures who aren't dealing with these exposures because their genetics are stronger, they're able to get rid of the toxins easier."