Greyson and the Garbage Man: A Man’s Kindness Bridges Child’s Autism
Chrissy Kelly and son Greyson never missed the garbage truck on Wednesday afternoons as it rumbled into their Copper River Ranch neighborhood.
At the first screech of the brakes on the street, Kelly would grab Greyson’s hand and run outside to the curb where her son would flap his arms — a sure sign of delight — stamp his feet and squeal.
They didn’t know the garbage man’s name, but Greyson, 4, always waved to him.
Frank Diaz, 53, noticed the woman and little boy who were waiting every week when he turned onto their block in his city of Fresno green-waste truck. He would return a friendly wave.
Week after week, this casual interaction played out — a wide-eyed boy and a middle-aged garbage man exchanging waves. It could have remained that way, but last month, a small act of kindness brought them close together.
“Trash truck Wednesdays” had become a special day for Greyson, who has autism. He was fascinated with the garbage truck. A preoccupation with vehicles is common among children who have autism.
Since the solid waste division had only one Frank on its payroll, it was clear who had picked up Kelly’s green waste, but Ramirez wasn’t surprised it was Diaz. “He’s pretty good at customer service,” he said.
Jerry Schuber, division manager for the solid waste division, placed a copy of Kelly’s blog on the employee bulletin board so people without a computer could read it. It’s always good to have positive comments from the public to share with employees, Schuber said.
And Kelly’s appreciation came on the heels of Measure G, the bitterly fought effort to privatize city garbage service that voters rejected last month. Diaz said Kelly’s blog has boosted morale in the department still reeling from the effects of the political battle.
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