If you ask 4-year-old Caleb what his favorite day of the week is, he will unequivocally and enthusiastically exclaim, “Tuesday!”
(And Christmas Day, he added later.)
Why Tuesday? Well, Tuesday is trash day in Caleb’s Stapleton neighborhood, and along with brother Blake, 2, each Tuesday he jumps out of bed with added enthusiasm, according to his mom, Megan Lane.
“The second my older son wakes up, he says, ‘It’s trash day!’ Every Tuesday, he runs downstairs in his jammies,” she said.
As soon as he’s finished breakfast, no matter the weather, he puts on his coat, his shoes, and heads to the garage to wait for the trash truck and the two men on it. It could be an hour, but he’ll still wait.
Those men are utility worker Tommy Bettale and equipment operator Juan Ramirez, Jr., who work for the Denver Public Works Department.
On an especially cold and snowy Tuesday, Dec. 15, in which Denver actually broke a record for snow accumulation, Tommy and Juan had a special surprise for two of their biggest – and youngest – fans.
“It’s pretty tough out there especially when it’s cold like this,” Juan said. “It can be really tough. It just makes us happy when the kids come out, especially in the Stapleton area.”
Caleb, Blake and their mom went out to say hello to Tommy and Juan, bringing them homemade Christmas cards with pictures drawn on them (which are now hanging on Tommy’s fridge, by the way).
Then, Juan and Tommy presented the boys with two specially wrapped toys: recycling trucks. (The brothers, naturally, already have toy trash trucks).
“They come out every day for the whole year and I just thought they deserved something for that,” Tommy said.
The kind gesture brought the young boys’ mom to tears.
“These guys have such a hard job. They get up every morning and go out in the cold. They do this service to the community, and it’s really a pretty thankless job when you think about it,” she said. “To think these two guys would take their time to go out and buy toys for my sons, it just was the most amazing act of kindness.”
This isn’t the first year they’ve gone out of their way to be kind to kids along their route. Last year, Tommy asked another young boy what he wanted for Christmas, and he replied, “A trash can!” So, Tommy went out and bought the boy a special trash can to play with around the house.
“When they gave us the presents I started crying, and I gave them both hugs. It does make me a bit emotional,” Lane said, adding, “Thank you for making this holiday season so magical for our little boys.”
Lane says the random act of kindness is a reminder there are still good people in the world who do many thankless jobs – and they all deserve some extra kindness in return this holiday season.
For the two Denver city workers, this was something that didn’t just bring joy to Blake and Caleb, but also to them.
“They love that trash truck very much. They’re very excited every time we pass by. They come out every week, faithfully, and they enjoy us. And we also enjoy them. That’s why it made us feel like we had to do this this year,” said Ramirez.
Chris Ulmer is no ordinary teacher. And his eight students at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida are not ordinary students. Ulmer is actively working on teaching love and acceptance to his students.
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