Harrison Driver’s Surprise Gift to Autistic Boy Touches the World
Harrison Industries is so proud of our Ojai residential recycling route driver Manuel Sanchez.
Last Monday he surprised Daniel Mulligan, a 5-year-old boy with autism, with a gift - a toy trash truck he bought with his own money. Little did Manuel know that his simple act of kindness would touch tens of thousands of people across the nation - and the world.
Daniel's mother, Robin Newberger, recorded Sanchez's thoughtful gesture on her phone and posted it on Facebook. In less than a week the post has over 90,000 "shares" - and counting - and was picked up by the video website www.rightthisminute.com, CNN Headline News, ABC News and CBS News, just to name a few news outlets. "I've been receiving calls from reporters all over the country," said Newberger. The video is now on YouTube, with close to 500,000 views. It is even on a Chinese-language website.
The response has been so overwhelming that Daniel's mother created a separate Facebook page, "The Gift," as a place for parents of children with autism to share uplifting stories.
Daniel's mother wrote on her post, in part: "One man, one moment, touching the life of an autistic child. Our hearts are overflowing... Daniel loves trash trucks. He waits all week for Monday morning pickup. He knows exactly which cans are being picked up each week. 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. This morning threw him off a bit! He asks me if Manuel is going to get back into the truck because the routine has suddenly changed. To him, trash pickup is like a symphony. You hear me on the video explaining to (Manuel) that Daniel had his truck and it broke. It makes it all the more amazing."
Here's is just a sampling of the over 3,000 comments from readers of the ABC News story on the Internet:
- Manuel Sanchez just showed what it is to be the best of "Humanity!" Not wealth, not politics, not gender, not race, not physical strength, not intelligence, just good old God-given kindness and a very big heart! This guy is awesome!
- Good job, brother! That's what being a hero is all about. Not your job, not your education or wealth, but how you treat people (especially kids).
- He is just simply an amazing man. For him to do that on his own (also didn't try to tape it to get recognition like most people) is the reason I haven't given up hope for humanity. If more people would be like him the world would be in so much less chaos. I also salute the parents, the fact that they are willing to stand with their kid for hours just to keep him happy shows great love for their child. This is a great way to start a weekend.
- Manuel Sanchez is a person with such a big heart. The company acknowledging the good deed is truly a great company. It's not always easy to find great, devoted, loving, and generous employees, and for Daniel he now has the greatest friend ever. The good Lord rewards those who have a heart with much to give.
- If I owned a company, I would hire this man ASAP! He would make my business soar by displaying the kind of selfless act he has shown here. Manuel, you are a credit to your profession.
We agree. Manuel Sanchez is a great employee and an even better person. He said the reason he did what he did was because God put it in his heart. Manuel said he had been thinking about buying a toy trash truck for a while and that his wife Luz and their kids encouraged him to go ahead and do it.
"That little boy is so special, and he will steal anybody's heart as soon as you see him," Manuel told us. "I didn't know what he has but there's something very special about him."
Manuel said he found Daniel's parents as special also. "Both of Daniel's parents are always present, they never leave him alone, they hug him and kiss him and constantly talk to him with kind words," he said.
Manuel is a very humble man and feels overwhelmed and embarrassed by all the attention he is receiving. In fact, he said he was embarrassed after seeing the video because he did not wrap the toy trash truck but gave it to Daniel in a plastic bag!
Manuel, you deserve the attention you are receiving. You lifted the spirits of people around the world. The Harrison family joins me in saying it is an honor to have you as an employee. Good job!