Three-year-old Brooklyn Andracke’s favorite day of the week is Thursday, because that’s when her family’s garbage gets picked up and she gets to see her hero, garbage man Delvar Dopson.
The Bloomington, Illinois, tot loves garbage day so much that after what began with her running to the window to wave every Thursday morning for the past year or so has now become going outside to meet the truck each week to wave to Dopson, who waves back and gives her a big smile.
Two weeks ago, Brooklyn got to actually meet Delvar, and her mother, Traci, shared the story on Facebook. It has since gone viral.
“[T]oday, we finally got to meet him!!!” Andracke wrote on the social network. “Brooklyn and I wrapped up one of her birthday cupcakes and waited for him. When he came down our street, she ran to the corner.
“We were waving like usual and I motioned for him to come over by us. He pulled over, got out and gave us his BIG smile. Brooklyn was instantly speechless as she handed him the cupcake. I explained to him that he makes our day every Thursday, and we really appreciate the honking and waving, and how special of a day it is for us.”
Delvar told Brooklyn and her mom that he looks forward to seeing them, too, and explained that on Thursday mornings he has a meeting he rushes out of so he can make it in time to wave to his favorite customers.
He’s more than just a garbage man though — Dopson said he mentors “several children” despite not having any of his own.
“I didn’t know I was her idol,” Dopson told local newspaper the Pantagraph after the story blew up. “I just looked forward to seeing this young lady every Thursday. She topped it off last week with a cupcake.”
He said that he’s gotten a lot of letters from public works employees from around the U.S., Canada and even Japan thanking him for giving them a better name.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m a garbage man or if I’m a CFO at State Farm. We all have to discover our gift and be effective,” he told the Pantagraph. “I mentor children and that is the passion in my heart.
“This is my job, but my (life’s) work is … to inspire the young,” he added. “I believe everybody on earth has a gift. Once they discover that gift, that’s when they can make a true difference.
“By me recognizing my gift, I think I’m affecting my workplace. I think everybody can do that.”
During their meeting Dopson learned that Brooklyn is a huge fan of the Disney film “Frozen”, and on his next trip out he brought her a gift basket that he and his wife had filled with toys from the movie. Brooklyn gave him a huge sign that read “Thank You”, which he displayed in the front window of his truck.
Following that first meeting, Brooklyn’s mother said she was “unusually quiet” on their way to daycare.
“I asked her if she was okay, and she said, ‘Mommy, I’m so happy.'”
Andracke forgot to get Dopson’s name during their first meeting, and said that she and her daughter refer to him as “our favorite smiley garbage man”.