For 6-year-old Liam, nothing is more exciting than the sights and sounds of the big yellow recycling truck driving through his neighborhood.
“He always wanted to be a garbage truck driver. For as long as I can remember, that is all he has been saying,” Liam’s mom, Kylee said.
“We have garbage day on Wednesday and, Liam would go outside and sit on the bench and wait for the garbage truck to drive by our house. Then on Friday, as soon as we heard the recycle truck, we would go outside and sit on the bench. It was our special time together.”
When Liam was diagnosed with leukemia, he spent many days in the hospital but after he was able to return home, he resumed his “garbage schedule”. Even his wish granters were told of his love for the big trucks.
“We brought a toy truck for his first wish visit and we couldn’t even have a conversation. He was so focused on playing with it the whole time,” said Emiri, Liam’s wish granter.
In speaking about all his options for a wish, Liam chose to spend the day doing his dream job – becoming a recycling man.
“When the recycling truck pulled up outside of our house it had Liam’s name written across it. Liam was standing there, grinning ear to ear. He was so happy,” Kylee said.
Liam and his family each received yellow safety vests with the slogan, “Liam’s Trash Bash” across the back. Then, Liam climbed into the front seat of the truck and rode along to pick up the recycling bins on his street.
After cleaning up his neighborhood, Liam made sure to stop at his best friend’s house nearby where the driver showed the boys the equipment on the truck, including how the claw worked.
“I was able to honk the horn on the truck. It was fun,” Liam said.
“Everyone was so enthusiastic and so in tune with what they were doing while explaining everything to the kids,” Kylee said. “I think watching his excitement when he got to his best friend’s house was my favorite part.”
Next, Liam traveled to the main station to recycle what they collected along their route. They backed in to dump the materials, then Liam got into a tractor to push the recycling items into a big pile in the back.
“My favorite part was seeing the truck,” Liam said.
“The best part of it was that we got the whole community involved,” said Emiri. “The whole crew was out there in the dump and everyone was thanking one another. It was such a great team effort.”
After a long day of work, Liam’s family headed to the break room where they had a pizza party and cake to celebrate his wish day – with a very special cake because his wish day was his birthday too! The Mayor of Scottsdale, Jim Lane, also came and spoke with Liam to congratulate him on a job well done.
“It was really an awesome experience,” said Kylee. “Every day since his wish he has worn his vest to school, and he tells us that he wants to go back in the recycling truck every day. He has been so happy, the greatest thing just happened to him. He has been on cloud nine.”
“It’s still his wish to be a garbage truck driver when he grows up, and I think it’s going to happen,” she said.