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Recycling collector gifts toy truck to boy with autism

Categories: Community, World

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During his routine Monday pickup, a southern California recycling collector had something to drop off, too.

According to NBC Los Angeles, every week, Daniel Mulligan -- a five-year-old boy with autism -- fervently waits for the recycling to be picked up.

His mother, Robin Newberger, often records her son, running down the pathway in front of their Ojai, Calif. home.

"We have so many 'Trash Day' videos, but this one is like no other," she wrote of the now viral video of an exchange between her son and the recycling collector, according to the autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks


In the video, Daniel waves his hands, in sync with the truck.

"To him, trash pickup is like a symphony. He synchronizes his hand movements with the truck," Newberger wrote. 

After it seems the pickup is complete, Manuel Sanchez, a recycling collector for E.J. Harrison & Sons, parks the truck and calls out to Newberger: "Can I ask you something?"

"Can I give a present to him," he asks.

"He wants to give you something, a present," Newberger tells her son. 

Sanchez walks over to Daniel, handing him a plastic bag -- with a toy garbage truck tucked inside.

"You're not going to believe it but he had one like this and it broke. You got him a new one. That is so sweet," Newberger tells Sanchez.

According to NBC Los Angeles, Daniel used to fear garbage trucks until he watched a YouTube video and became captivated by collection trucks. 

"He's been obsessed ever since," Newberger wrote.

"He loves the predictable movement of the hoist and is excited by the entire spectacle.

"He knows exactly which cans are being picked up each week, and Sundays are special for him when he takes the cans out with his dad."

According to Newberger, her son's favourite driver is Sanchez.

"He always has a big smile for Daniel, who is faithfully waiting for him every Monday."

The Ventura, Calif., trash collection company that employs Sanchez says it is "proud" of him.

"He surprised Daniel ... with a toy trash truck he bought with his own money," the company wrote on its website.

"That little boy is so special, and he will steal anybody's heart as soon as you see him," Sanchez told the company.

Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a kind gesture to a stranger?

Tags: Autism, California, Community, Viral

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