As a little boy obsessed with garbage trucks, 6-year-old Ethan Dean had his wish of becoming a trash collector granted Tuesday during a school assembly in Rancho Cordova, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Ethan’s smile said it all as he was driven off in a giant green garbage truck with his name plastered to the side. Not only did he get to ride in the front seat of the truck, he was also given a special uniform to wear for the ride of his life.
Lots of people cheered for Ethan and lined the parking lot of Sunrise Elementary School as the little boy embarked on the surprise journey.
“I want to be a garbage man when I grow up,” said 6-year-old Ethan Dean. “It’s awesome!”
Ethan’s specially outfitted truck came with the mentorship of a seasoned driver.
“It’s a dream come true for me really. I think it’s wonderful,” said truck operator Sam Turman. “Humbled. Absolutely humbled.”
This was a really big deal for Ethan, who has struggled with cystic fibrosis since he was born. Ethan’s dad told KCRA 3 that since Ethan’s wish was granted, the family has hope that their son will live past 40, which is typically an age most people with the disease never reach.
Ethan’s family said he has been watching garbage men pick up trash throughout his neighborhood since he was a baby. Garbage trucks bring Ethan happiness, and they help him forget his medical condition.
“It means the world,” said Ethan’s mom Erin Dean. “I can’t believe so many people care so much to come out and support him.”
When Ethan went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he told them it was his dream to clean up Sacramento.
Ethan made stops throughout the day at several locations in Sacramento, including the Sacramento Fire Department and the West Steps of the state Capitol.
One of the stops was at his dad’s work at the California Environmental Protection Agency.
“I work at Cal EPA– 25 stories– and I would bet almost every floor was empty,” said Ken Dean. “Just take it in and enjoy the moment. Because at some point it’s going to be back to our routine of doing his medications and all that stuff.”
There was a special “news conference” for Ethan at the state Capitol that included city leaders, like Mayor-Elect Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers.
“Best day ever!” is how Ethan summarized his eventful day, and to Ethan we say, thank you for bringing joy into our hearts.