A Nova Scotia boy with a fascination with garbage trucks has struck a deep friendship with a local REgroup sanitation crew.
Hiro, who just turned three Wednesday, honoured his obsession with a replica garbage truck birthday cake. Meanwhile, his new friends capped off his collection of toy trucks with a REgroup sanitation truck of his very own.
“He bought four more trucks with his birthday money,” his mother Krystle Getson pointed out.
Hiro first started noticing the green REgroup trucks last summer during their weekly visits to his Eastern Passage neighbourhood.
His mother says Hiro started insisting on going outside and waiting at the end of the driveway for the crew every Wednesday.
“He wouldn’t say anything for weeks and weeks,” she said. “He’s shy. But he’ll talk about them the entire week they’re gone. He plans his weeks around Wednesdays.”
Slowly, but surely, Hiro worked up the nerve to start chatting with his two “heroes” Dave Nickerson and his partner Rudy.
Nickerson, however, is quick to point out he really isn’t a “hero.”
“We’re friends. I wouldn’t say I’m really anybody’s hero,” he said jokingly.
Not only does the pair take the time to give fist bumps and high-fives, they’ve even let the youngster onto the truck and pretend to work the handles to compact garbage.
“I think it’s awesome. I know all little kids love trucks,” Getson said. But she praised them for taking time out of their day to stop, get out of the truck, give him high-fives, and remember his name. Over the months, Hiro has baked them cookies, given them Christmas gifts and even made them Valentine’s Day cards.
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“It’s great. He’s a great little kid,” said Nickerson, who has been a driver with ReGroup since 2015. “I’m a father of two girls. I now have a grandson. So I’ve always loved kids.”
Nickerson’s wife, who has met Hiro’s family, says he’s even proudly displayed a card he received from Hiro at their home.
Rain or shine, Hiro likes to be outside to wait for his two friends. If the weather is particularly bad or he’s sick, he’ll resort to waving from the window. And on the rare occasions that the family isn’t around on Wednesdays, Rudy and Dave are sure to ask where they were when they return the following week.
“We try to actually not leave the house on Wednesdays,” Getson said with a laugh. “It’s kind of ridiculous. I don’t do errands until the afternoon on Wednesdays.”
On Tuesday, Hiro marked his third birthday with an intricate cake that not only looked like Dave and Rudy’s truck, but also had their Number 81 designation on it.
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In return, the two men gifted Hiro with a toy truck they had personalized with the REgroup logo and their names: Dave’s name on his door, Rudy’s name on his door, and Hiro’s name on the back.
Getson says the joy Hiro receives from the friendship is something she treasures.
“I don’t know how long it will last. I will be kind of sad the day he doesn’t care,” she said. “For now, it’s really fun for him.”