To the Garbage Truck Driver Who Stopped for My Son
You have no idea the impact you have on a Wednesday. What you don’t know is that your presence has been a calming and reassuring force in our week for years now. No matter how good or how bad our week was, there you were every Wednesday reminding me that we could go on. The weeks I couldn’t count on anything, I could count on you, Frank, to light up my boy’s face. My 4-year-old son, Greyson, has autism. Some days it’s nearly impossible to get into his world. I still remember the first time he heard and processed the hum of your engine coming down our street. My son who barely speaks said to me, “I want truck.” You better believe we ran.
You broke into his world when I couldn’t, and moments spent watching you go down our street together brought him back to me. And almost every week after that first time he asked, I would hold my breath and wait and hope he would ask for you again — “I want truck.” And so often he did, and we would run outside in whatever discombobulated state we were in to see you.
I remember Grey started preschool this past fall. I was so sad and not at all ready to let go of my little buddy. I was mournful to say goodbye to our trash truck Wednesdays. And on that first Wednesday morning after the school year began, I heard your hum on our street as we were leaving for school. You came early, and we still got to see you. Suddenly I knew we would be OK.
Today I heard your melodic engine roar and hum, your brakes squeaking with each stop of your truck. We went outside and waited for you.
And Grey’s eyes came alive when we finally saw you turn the corner onto our street.
And today as you were driving away you abruptly came to a stop, reversed, and you opened your door.
“I see you two out here every week,” you said. “Do you want to get a really good picture?” And you opened your world and your heart and your truck to me and my boy. You have no idea what that moment meant to me.
I asked you your name, and I shook your hand when I really wanted to grab you and hug you. I tried to hold back my tears. I wanted to tell you everything but all I could do was squeak out, “thanks.”
Sometimes I worry — How will the world treat my boys? And today was a beautiful reminder that people are good — all because of you, Frank. I saw the way your face lit up with joy that my son put there, and I was so proud and so honored and so humbled to be a part of such a magical moment. Sometimes I hear phrases like, “People are so stupid,” or “crazy” or “mean.” To them I say — No they aren’t. You haven’t met Frank.
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