ATHENS, AL (CNN) – A few weeks ago — before the era of coronavirus social distancing — some kids in Alabama got together to talk trash.
Literally, they were talking about garbage.
“And recycle is what color trash can, Samuel?” Lindsey Miller asks.
“Blue!” future trashman Samuel Miller exclaimed.
“And then the trash is what color?” Lindsey asks.
“Green!” Samuel exclaims.
Five-year-old Samuel Miller loves the trucks.
“It started really before he was walking,” Lindsey says. “He just became fascinated with throwing trash away in a trash can for myself and his daddy.”
And he’s made a new friend.
“Mr. Jerry,” Samual says.
The sanitation worker who runs the route picking up recyclables every other Monday.
“And he comes every Friday,” Samuel says.
To collect the garbage in Samuel’s neighborhood.
He listens for Mr. Jerry’s truck.
“Run to the window and watch it,” Samuel says.
Some days …
“I watch the claw going up and then down, up and then down,” Samuel says.
That’s not enough.
“When the weather’s good then we’ll follow it,” Samuel says.
Yep, Samuel and his mom jump in the family golf cart and follow Jerry’s garbage truck.
“At first I thought, did I forget the can or something,” sanitation worker Jerry Long says. “But then when I realized what they were doing, it was cool.”
This is even cooler.
“This is his third year where he’s had a trash truck party,” Lindsey says.
For Samuel’s birthday …
“So I contacted the sanitation department’s director and told him I had an unusual request and thought it would be a really cool idea if they could bring a trash truck to his party,” Lindsey says.
Along with a surprise guest.
“The trashman came,” Samuel says.
Mr. Jerry was there.
“And he was real excited about it when he saw the truck,” Long says.
Samuel got to climb up into the cab.
“Yeah, I sat him up in the seat,” Samuel says.
Which was probably his favorite gift of the day.
“I think all the kids enjoyed it,” Long says. “And we took the garbage can and raised it up and down a few times to show them how it dumps, blew the horn for them, just made them happy.”
it’s hard to tell who was happier, Samuel and his friends, or Jerry and the sanitation crew.
“I felt proud that they asked us to come,” Long says.
A birthday to remember.
It’s no surprise what Samuel wants to be when he’s older.
“A trashman,” Samuel says. “(really?) uh-huh.”
“I don’t know if he’ll be a garbage man when he grows up but right now he is,” Long says.
Jerry gave him a toy sideloader like the one he drives.
“He’s got his own truck, his own garbage cans and everything,” Long says.
In fact, he could start his own sanitation department.
“He probably has close to 50,” Lindsey says.
Enough to fill a five-year-old’s closet.