Each Tuesday morning, 4-year-old Gigi Campbell waited eagerly for the garbage collection truck to rumble through her West Richland neighborhood.
She started getting up before the truck’s 6:30 a.m. arrival about six months ago, when her mother, Jody Campbell, pointed it out to her.
“The first time, she just looked out the window and saw the arm come down and lift up the garbage cans and thought that was really cool,” Jody said.
Gigi was instantly hooked on watching the truck, her mother said. She usually waited 10 minutes outside to see it arrive, once running outside without clothes to see it. She was disappointed if she overslept and missed the truck.
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“If the arm had already put the trash cans away when she got outside, she would have a terrible tantrum,” Campbell said.
Seeing Gigi waiting when he arrived helped brighten the day for the truck’s driver, Fred Gomez with Ed’s Disposal. But Gomez recently had his shift altered, meaning he wouldn’t get to the Campbells’ home until after 7 a.m., when Gigi left for school.
So he decided to leave her with a gift. Campbell recently came home on her lunch break to find a pink gift bag with a note reading, “Hi Tuesday garbage friend! I miss waving hello to you and your mommy on garbage day. I probably won’t get to see you any more, so I wanted to bring you a surprise so you can see a garbage truck anytime you want! From your friend the garbage man.”
Inside was a toy collection truck, colored green, just like the one Gomez drives.
“I know how much the truck meant to her, along with seeing me pick it up and seeing all the cans,” Gomez said. “I hope she enjoys it and has fun with it.”
Gomez has been driving a collection truck for 12 years. His two sons have shown him how attached kids can be to the vehicles.
Gigi has been calm about the truck changing its schedule, Campbell said. The toy truck has helped.
“She was super excited about the garbage truck,” Campbell said. “In fact, she’s playing with it now.”