ATHENS, Alabama – For most of his life, Samuel Miller has looked forward to one thing each week — following the trash truck.
He loves it so much, he knows the sanitation worker by name — Mr. Jerry. His mother, Lindsey Miller, said she and Samuel get in a golf cart and ride around every Friday, following Mr. Jerry's route. She said it's been their routine since they moved to Canebrake four years ago.
"He's been fascinated with trash trucks since before he started walking," she said.
It might be worth mentioning that Samuel is about to be 5 years old. He celebrated his birthday party Saturday, and like the two before, he asked for it to have a garbage truck theme.
His mother, however, wanted to make this year's a little more special.
"I wanted to surprise him with something," she said, so "I contacted the (city of Athens) Sanitation Department and said I had a unique request."
She asked if they could bring a garbage truck to her son's birthday party.
"We were glad to do it," Earl Glaze, sanitation director, said. He added, "It's the first time someone has wanted a driver to come to the party. I think it made Jerry feel good to be recognized."
Jerry Long, also known as Mr. Jerry, and Dustin Hill, another sanitation worker, brought a truck and a few extra garbage cans to the party, according to Glaze and Lindsey Miller.
"He was in a state of shock," Lindsey Miller said of her son's reaction. "They actually sent out the trash truck driver for our community."
She said the workers showed kids at the party how the truck's arms pick up garbage cans and dump them into the truck's "hopper," a term she learned from her son.
"It just shows how awesome Athens is," Lindsey Miller said. "It shows they support kids' dreams."
Jessica Barnett is a reporter for the News-Courier in Athens, Alabama. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org