Special needs girl forms friendship with sanitation worker then he brings her gift that makes mom cry

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Mom knew her daughter loved the garbage truck driver, but one day when he brought her daughter a gift out of the blue she was left choking back tears. Mom would never forget it.

Garbage day is one little girl’s favorite day of the week.

While most kids are excited about getting a new toy or being able to go to the park, Emma Grace Johnson, a 5-year-old with special needs, is happiest when it’s garbage day. Why? Well, it just so happens that the driver of the truck is her best friend. So, when garbage day rolls around, you can bet that this little girl is the happiest kid on the block.

Best friends make the day brighter.

Emma and her family live in Vestavia Hills, Alabama and lucky for her, garbage day comes twice a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Emma Grace anxiously awaits the arrival of the truck driven by her bestie, Elbert Berry.

Emma’s love of big trucks was the catalyst for the unlikely friendship.

Soon, the truck wasn’t as interesting as her friend who drove it. Emma would run and give Berry a big hug each time he came to her house. Emma’s mom, Laura Johnson, spoke to WVTM13 News about how much Berry has meant to Emma and her family.

“He is the kind of person we should all try to be more like,” – Laura Johnson told WVTM13 News

The Johnsons adopted Emma Grace at the age of 3. She was born a “micro-preemie” in Hungary and taken to an orphanage where she stayed until she found her forever family.

A spark of joy amid some hard times.

Before Emma Grace met Berry, the family was dealing with the pandemic and the death of Emma Grace’s grandfather. Emma Grace and her “granddaddy” were inseparable after he underwent heart surgery and spent his recovery time isolated at her home. He sadly passed away in September 2020. “Emma Grace was devastated…her best friend was gone.” – Johnson told WVTM13 News

It started with a wave.

One day when Emma Grace decided to wave to the garbage truck driver and at that moment a friendship was born. Although she was still adjusting to life without her grandpa, this new person waving back at her and smiling brought joy back.

Emma Grace goes to school holding a special photo.

When it was time for Emma Grace to go back to school in person, she asked Berry if he could go with her. So they took a picture together and she took it to school with her every day.

A birthday surprise brings tears to Laura’s eyes.

When Berry’s birthday came around, Emma Grace made him a card with the picture inside. “The baby made me a birthday card, a handmade birthday card…It said, ‘I love you,’ and she stuck the picture inside.” – Berry told WVTM13 News

A gift in return.

Berry was so surprised by the kind gift that he wanted to do something special for her. He had the photo made into a locket necklace and had it engraved.

‘You are the Best part of My day!’

The sweet reminder meant a lot to Emma Grace but maybe even more so to her mom.

“When he gave her the necklace his face just lit up. He was so proud to give it to her and make her smile…And it made me think that he was the kind of person who should be celebrated, but probably more important than that, he is the kind of person we should all try to be more like.” – Laura Johnson told WVTM13 News

Now watch this heartwarming video of their sweet friendship.

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