Every kid has a dream and for Ethan Dean, he has always dreamed of being a garbage man. Ethan never tires of playing with toy garbage trucks and loves to watch the real ones drive past his house.
On Tuesday, the 6-year-old who’s was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 8 weeks got his wish. He got to ride shotgun in a booster seat through Sacramento as an honest-to-goodness garbage truck driver with a set of wheels labeled “Ethan’s Garbage Truck.”
He donned a green cape that read “Hero Ethan” and a big smile as the truck stopped to pick up trash and recyclables. For Ethan it wasn’t a chore.
He even said his favorite part of the day put on by the Make-A-Wish Foundation was “cleaning up garbage” while hundreds of people gathered to cheer him on. After being surprised at his school, Ethan and the garbage truck made five stops.
Sam Thurman, the Waste Management employee who drove Ethan, said when he agreed to take part, he had no idea how big the day was going to be. As for Ethan, Thurman said “He can’t wipe that grin off his face. He looks like it’s Christmas morning and he’s unwrapping his first present.”
The genetic disorder, cystic fibrosis is characterized by a buildup of thick mucus and frequent lung infections, and the median life expectancy is about 40 years old. In February when Make-A-Wish Foundation agreed to grant his wish, there was little doubt what he wanted it to be.
Ethan’s dad, Ken Dean, laughed and said “We pretty much knew it was going to be about garbage trucks.” Dean said his son’s infatuation started early as he’s been watching them come down the street since he first learned how to crawl.
Ethan also has a garbage truck bedspread and pillow, garbage truck toys and has had a garbage truck birthday party. Jennifer Stolo, CEO of the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation said when Ethan visited Make-A-Wish and was asked about some of his dreams, almost all of his answers were garbage-truck related.
Ethan’s uncle, Tim Dean, said it means a lot to the family to have people who don’t even know him come out to celebrate. At least 500 people gathered at the Capitol for a press conference and VIP lunch at the end of Ethan’s day.
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