When one garbage truck driver decided to offer a young boy a gift, he had no idea his simple act of kindness would get the attention it got.
Manuel Sanchez noticed Daniel Mulligan, from Ojai, Calif., would get excited every time his garbage truck would come around the block for trash pick up on Mondays.
Sanchez decided to present the boy with a toy truck of his own. The exchange was captured on video and has gone viral, garnering more than 750,000 views.
The video was sent to Autism Speaks by Daniel’s mom, Robin Newberger. The organization shared the video on both Facebook and YouTube.
“He wants to give you something – a present,” Newberger tells Daniel in the video.
Sanchez gets out of his truck, walks over to Daniel and gives him a large plastic truck.
“You’re not going to believe it, but he had one like this and it broke,” Newberger says.
Daniel was only able to give out a quiet “thank you,” to Sanchez as he received his new toy.
The gift made quite the impression on Newberger, who shared and commented on the video.
“One man, one moment, touching the life of an autistic child … our hearts are overflowing,” she wrote in a Facebook message to Autism Speaks. She recalled Daniel used to be afraid of trash pick up, but now waits all week for pickup day.
“He knows which cans are being picked up each week, and Sundays are special for him when he takes the cans out with his dad,” she said. “Our recycle man, known only to us as Manuel, is his favorite. He always has a big smile for Daniel who is faithfully waiting for him every Monday. To him, trash pickup is like a symphony. He synchronizes his hang movements with the truck.”
Sanchez works for the company E.J Harrison and Sons, who released a statement saying that Sanchez bought the gift with his own money.
“Harrison Industries is so proud of our Ojai residential route driver Manual Sanchez,” the statement read. “Little did Manuel know that his simple act of kindness would touch tens of thousands of people across the nation – and the world.”
Sanchez has said that he’s embarrassed by all the attention he’s received and only wishes he would have wrapped the gift before giving it to Daniel.
“That little boy is so special, and he will steal anybody’s heart as soon as you see him,” Sanchez said in the statement. “I didn’t know what he has, but there’s something very special about him.”