Kindness is a powerful thing. So powerful that even a small child will remember it for years to come.
That’s the message at the center of this sweet story about a garbage collector and the three children whose lives he changed every time he came around to collect the trash.
The Highlight of Their Morning
When Olivia, Emma, and Axel Wierenicz were just three years old, they thought Tony Parker was a hero. He didn’t wear a cape, and he didn’t save lives, but every week he would roll through their street on the garbage truck and collect their trash.
When the triplets heard him coming, they would jump up from breakfast and run to the window. They were so fascinated that eventually, their mother, Carla Wierenicz, let them go outside to see the trash collection up close. The kids and Parker quickly developed a bond, and he would take a few minutes every time he was there to play with them and connect.
“He loved those kids so much, and the kids loved him. He was the kids’ hero,” Carla told an NBC news outlet.
“Every day I’d come by, they would come out, and if they missed me, the mother had to get in the car and circle the neighborhood until they’d meet me,” Parker added.
Sadly, the kids and Parker lost touch after the City of Orlando switched up the collection routes. So the magic came to an end, but the family never forgot the kind man who came around every week and brightened up their days.
A Sweet Reunion
One day Carla was reminiscing on old times, and she recalled the man who was so sweet to her kids when they were younger. She posted one of the many videos she had taken of their interactions on social media, and it went viral. People were taken by how kind Parker was and by how much the children adored him.
The city found out too, and it arranged for a special, one-day route reunion. When Parker swung by in the garbage truck, the triplets, now seven years old, were waiting for him. They had drawn him pictures the night before, which he said he was going to hang up. And he gifted them miniature garbage trucks and t-shirts so they had something to remember him by.
Then he let the kids honk the horn. They raced and they played a few of the other games they used to enjoy together.
“I picked up joy, I picked up happiness, I picked up memories,” Parker told the camera of his time with the children.
As for the kids, they picked up on the fact that kindness is universal and can solidify some of your very best childhood memories.
The Gift of Kindness
Being a garbage collector isn’t the most glamorous job — often, you’re taking away the things no one else wants. But what Parker got from those kids was a lifetime of memories and of knowing that, to some, his job held meaning.
As for the triplets, they learned an early life lesson that kindness is one of the strongest gifts you can give another person. Parker could have easily waved and been on his way each week, but he stopped and spent a few minutes with those kids. By making them feel seen, appreciated, and wanted, he gave them the memories of a lifetime.
It’s a nice reminder for us, too. Sometimes we get so busy that we fail to stop and appreciate the small moments in life. But it’s those moments where the really good stuff can happen — the things we don’t necessarily even appreciate until they’re gone.
In other words, even when you’re surrounded by a pile of garbage, stop to smell the roses and be kind. You’ll appreciate it in the long run.
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