Trash collecting is a Norfolk boy’s treasure

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A three-year old boy in Norfolk has found something of value from what we “throw away.”

It involves his fascination with people, whose jobs adults often take for granted, with some life lessons on the way. One could say the neighborhood trash in East Beach is a child’s treasure. Ryan MacLeod says her son Behr’s obsession with a messy process began more than a year ago.

“We’d open the window so we can hear them from the kitchen and as soon as we heard the brakes squeaking through and we’d say, ‘Here’s the garbage truck!’ and he’d get all excited about it,” says MacLeod.

And what began as a curiosity has blossomed into a relationship.

“He grew, the relationship grew, and the time I decided to spend taking him ‘garbaging’ grew. So we went from just doing one or two houses down to following through the whole neighborhood,” she says.

Norfolk’s sanitation workers love seeing Behr waiting for them at nearly every corner.

“This is awesome to see a kid full of joy and full of love for the work that we do,” says Miracle Parker.

Behr is hands on, handing the workers trash, and providing water for them on their summer trash runs.

“Teamwork is probably the biggest thing that Behr relates to because he gets that guys work together to get the job done,” says MacLeod.

With the help of his parents, Behr also ventures outside the neatly manicured world of East Beach into parts of East Ocean View. He greets Marcus Hawkins with a hug after he emerges from his city truck on 19th Bay Street. This little boy brings a smile to Hawkins’ face.

“That’s my buddy, I mean,  he gets me through the day; and when I see him, it enlightens me,” says Hawkins.

Enlightening to consider from the eyes of a child, a lesson emerges about people and human interaction.

“I don’t think that we realize sitting in our houses, putting our garbage cans out, and watching the garbage disappear, there’s somebody on the other end of that,” says MacLeod. “There’s somebody who’s picking that up and loading up the truck and going home to their family at night.”

Yes relationships leave impressions, especially when they end. Behr and his military family are moving from the area, and on this last “garbaging day,” Hawkins offers reassurance to his young friend.

“I’m gonna miss you bud. I’m going to see you again, we’ll see each other again,” Hawkins says to Behr.

A promise made in hope, because of this relationship which came from what we throw away.