Press Releases

02/2013

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.

Manuel Sanchez
Manuel Sanchez
manuel giving gift to
                                              Daniel
Daniel Mulligan
Daniel Mulligan

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:

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!

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