Christmas at the curb

Ron Burtz

­­­­­­­Three year old Brixton Miner of Custer has had a fascination with garbage trucks practically since he could walk. He has several garbage truck toys which are his favorites and he and his little brother Bridger look forward to the arrival of the garbage truck at their home every week.   
“He’s always looked forward to seeing the garbage man on Mondays,” said his mother Michaela, noting that it makes his day to watch the garbage can being dumped into the big truck.
She said if they miss the garbage being picked up at the house they will sometimes jump in the car and follow the truck around their Boot Hill neighborhood. So, when a 12-day countdown to Christmas exercise urged Brixton to do an act of kindness for the garbage man he was all in.
Michaela said she wanted to help her son manage his excitement for opening presents this year, so she found a “12 Days of Kindness” program on the internet to help him visualize the number of days he had to wait. She made a red and green paper chain with one link for each day and an act of kindness written on each link.
After following suggestions to give treats to the mailman and other delivery persons, one day’s link suggested writing a thank you note to the garbage collector.
Having just baked a batch of pumpkin bread the day before, Michaela wrapped up a loaf in plastic wrap and placed it out near the garbage can with a note written with the help of Brixton’s dad, Jaron.
“Dear Garbage Man,” the note read. “Thank you for being our garbage man! We really appreciate your hard work and long hours to keep our community free of garbage. You make a big difference and we love watching garbage being dumped into the hopper! It is the highlight of my day. Merry Christmas, Bixton.”
Before the arrival of the garbage truck, however, the mom looked out at the curb to see that birds had picked through the plastic and eaten the bread, so she wrapped up a second loaf, secured it inside a glass container and placed it in a cardboard box on the ground near the garbage can. She also put a note of explanation on the garbage can itself.
Later that day, which was the Monday before Christmas, the truck came and went taking the gift and note with it.
The Monday after Christmas was blustery and the Miner boys missed their weekly garbage truck vigil. In fact, Michaela didn’t get around to retrieving the garbage can until Tuesday evening. When she did, she found the glass container, the original note and another item.
She admits to having been a little disappointed at first, but then she noticed the driver had written his own note on the card above the first.
“Dear Brixton,” it said. “Thank you for the bread; it was very good and tasty (yummy)! I hope you and your brothers had a Great Merry Christmas. Brixton, you have a big part in keeping the community clean. I just pick it up and take it to the land fill. So, together we all make a big difference. Thank you again! The Garbage Man (followed by smiley face).
The other item in the package turned out to be a Wal-mart gift card which they later learned was in the amount of $50.
“That was super generous and super kind of him,” said Michaela, who called the company to tell them about their employee’s generosity and learned the man’s name is Sal.
The Miners, who have lived in Custer about two years, say, while Brixton is excited about spending the money on the gift card, they hope the experience has helped him learn that Christmas is about giving more than getting.


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