NC boy with autism befriends garbage truck driver: ‘He brightens my day’

Adam Smith and Bruce Atkins (Marie Smith/WECT)

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (WECT) — Twice a week, 6-year-old Adam Smith’s teachers know what to expect. Adam will jump up and run to the window, waiting eagerly to hear the garbage truck drive by.

Marie Smith says her son has autism and is nonverbal, but his face lights up when he hears the truck.

Bruce Atkins, a Bladen County employee, drives the garbage truck by Elizabethtown Primary. He noticed Adam waits by the window, and made a point to wave and blow the horn for him when he visited.

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“It’s hard to put into words how good it makes you feel for a kid to pay that much attention to someone he doesn’t even know,” Atkins said.

During one of the last weeks of school, Adam’s class made a medal to present to Atkins. Atkins said he wanted to return the favor, and brought Adam a toy garbage truck and an honorary plaque from the county.

“I wanted to show that I appreciated and loved him as much as the appreciation and love he showed toward me,” he said.

Smith said she’s touched by the gesture, and said Atkins feels like a member of their family.

“Today it was nothing but happiness. Mr. Bruce has brought so much joy into his life as far as a stranger getting to know my son. He has brought so much joy into Adam’s life, and mine,” she said.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

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