Brooklyn Andracke always had a passion for garbage trucks - and also for the men behind the wheel. But when the 2-year-old and a local sanitation worker crossed paths, no one could believe what came next.
Delvar Dopson drove down the same neighborhood each week doing his garbage truck driving duties. Since it was the same consistent route, he had become familiar with some of the residents. But others only knew him by his face.
One day, instead of following his usual route, he put his car in park and started heading towards one of the houses along the street. A neighboring resident noticed what he was doing and found it kind of out of the ordinary. But instead of checking in on what he was doing, she began filming.
A Strange Encounter
The lady grew curious, especially when she noticed her neighbor's 2-year-old daughter had walked out of her house and started making her way toward the strange man. She wondered what a random garbage truck driver could possibly have to say to the curious child. But what she saw next surprised her more than she could have imagined.
As she continued staring and capturing the encounter on video, it seemed the two had already known each other. But perhaps that raised even more questions for the baffled bystander. And it didn't take long before it caught the attention of other residents around the nation...
Catching Nationwide Attention
After catching the unexpected encounter, the lady shared her clip with her followers online. Almost instantly, the moment between Dopson and Brooklyn began trending all over the internet. And perhaps with good reason. After all, it showed that there are many things that occur in our communities that we aren't aware of.
And if it wasn't for that curious neighbor, people all over the internet wouldn't have gotten to see a glimpse into the surprising gesture the strange man had made. But believe it or not, Dopson's time with Brooklyn was actually a long time in the making...
The Friendly Greeting
As it turned out, he was pretty close with the toddler's family: the Andrackes. In fact, every time he would pass by the family's house, Dopson made sure to greet them. His favorite way to grab the family's attention was to honk the horn of the big garbage truck and stick his hand out to wave.
It was something that Brooklyn and her little brother would look forward to every week. And each time Thursday rolled around, without fail, Dospon was there to say hello. But what fans of the video wondered was how exactly this heartwarming tradition began.
A Sudden Obsession
The truth was that Dopson actually had not known of the Andrackes before getting assigned to drive by and clean the garbage bins on their street. The only reason he ended up getting close to them versus another family on the block was because of Brooklyn.
The little girl was a big fan of the mystery man who picked up the trash. As many toddlers do, Brooklyn had taken a strange interest in a seemingly random subject. For some unknown reason, she simply loved garbage trucks - so every time the loud vehicle cruised down her street, she became incredibly eager.
In fact, she would actually sit by her window that looked towards the main street, waiting for Dopson to bring the truck around. Excitement took over, and the 2-year-old would jump up and down waving to her neighborhood truck driver every week. It was a special moment for her.
Traci Andracke, Brooklyn's mother, revealed to reporters after being asked about the story, "To Brooklyn, he is our favorite awesome smiley garbage man." Rather than ignore the little girl, Dopson made sure he acknowledged the happiness and love she had for his job.
Their Thursday Routine
It didn't take long before it became a routine. Dopson knew that no matter what, Traci and Brooklyn would be sitting together, waiting for his arrival. He thought it was very sweet of Brooklyn to adore him so much. "Children have the best hearts, and that's why I love them," he once gushed on a Facebook post.
And she was so happy to know that he took the time to wave to her. But little did Brooklyn know that soon enough, she would actually finally get to meet her favorite garbageman face to face after spending so much time simply saying hello from a distance.
The 'Garbage Man'
For a long time, Brooklyn was obsessed with the garbage truck. But she soon realized that she wouldn't have a chance to get to see the car if it wasn't for the man behind the wheel. "For about a year now, she has anxiously awaited the garbage truck's arrival at our house," explained Brooklyn's mom.
That quickly became the new normal for these three pals. "It became all about him after that," Andracke revealed about their weekly encounters. "It wasn't the 'garbage truck' anymore, but it was the 'garbage man' that she wanted to see." How adorable!
Her Birthday Wish
When April 7th, 2016, rolled around, Brooklyn was excited since it was her birthday. She was finally going to turn 3 years old! But unfortunately, the young girl was not so happy about her big day... and that was because it had happened to fall on a Wednesday.
Her birthday wish was to get to see her favorite garbage truck and, of course, Dopson. All Brooklyn really wanted was to wave to him. But sadly, it wasn't Thursday. Luckily, her mom, Traci, had come up with a brilliant plan to make her daughter's wish come true...
Although Brooklyn's 3rd birthday celebrations didn't actually happen on her real birthday, it was all worth it because that was the day of the week that Dopson was in the area. Traci knew that her daughter desperately wanted to have the garbage man at her birthday, so she did just that.
Traci brought Brooklyn outside along with a few cupcakes and told him they would give one to their loyal garbage man. As the clock ticked, the little girl became more and more excited. Finally, they saw (and heard) the loud vehicle make its way to them.
A Sweet Surprise
Dopson thought it was just another normal Thursday where he would honk and wave. But instead of just waving back to him, Traci motioned at the driver to stop the car over and come to them. Filled with curiosity and excitement, Dopson pulled the car over and started to make his way towards the Andracke's home.
Once he got out of the truck, he realized Traci and Brooklyn had cupcakes in their hand. He was in awe at his view, especially at how sweet and shy the 3-year-old was when she offered Dopson the sweet treat. Traci explained that it was Brooklyn's birthday and told him they desperately wanted to celebrate with him.
A Loss For Words
This was the exact moment that had been caught on camera by a curious neighbor. And after it was shared with the world, many reporters and fans reached out to Dopson and the Andrackes - asking them a million questioning about the special birthday moment.
"As a mom, I can't even describe how happy it made me that she got to finally meet him," Traci told journalists. "She was literally starstruck and could not even say a word. I had to do all of the talking for her. And she is never usually short on words."
A Growing Friendship
"I explained to him that he makes our day every Thursday, and we really appreciate the honking and waving and how special of a day it is for us," Ms. Andracke continued revealing to the reporters about what else happened after the video stopped filming.
"After he left, we continued on to daycare. Brooklyn was unusually quiet in the backseat. I asked her if she was okay, and she said, 'Mommy, I'm so happy.'" Aww, we can't lie, this story made us (and millions of viewers online) almost shed a tear. But that's not all... Brooklyn and Dopson's story was just getting started.
The Mystery Box
The following week, Brooklyn and her mom were, unsurprisingly, waiting by their front porch for Dopson to drive by. Although they had a blast the previous Thursday, the girls assumed things would go back to normal. So they started to wave as they saw the truck pull up.
But Dopson didn't just wave back and continue on with his cleaning route - instead, he parked the car and got out. Brooklyn was in shock! What could he be doing? Her and Traci's curiosity grew when they noticed their favorite garbage man was holding a mysterious box in his hands.
The Celebration Continues
Dopson handed the big box to Brooklyn, and what she found inside probably made her one of the happiest little girls in the world. The garbage man had gone out of his way to buy her a bunch of toys that were in the theme of the young girl's favorite film, Frozen.
Traci and her daughter were in disbelief at how kind of a gift their garbage man had given her. They, of course, thanked him endlessly. But Ms. Andracke felt like she needed to go above and beyond to show her family's appreciation for the sweet garbage truck driver.
"Thank You Delvar"
With the help of her daughter and her son, Ty, Traci created a huge handwritten sign that read "Thank You Delvar." They prepared it just in time for their Thursday meet up, where together, the family handed the poster to Dopson, who was taken aback by the gesture.
Dopson was so moved that the Andrackes had taken the time out of their day to say such a wonderful thank you that he even shed a few tears from happiness. The friendship they had formed was truly special, and he wanted everyone to know about it - so he hung up the sign on his garbage truck.
The Tradition Lives On
The friendship he formed with Brooklyn truly touched his heart. "My job is not complete just because I can finish a route," Dopson confessed in a caption of one of his Facebook pots. "It's when I can influence someone to the point where they choose to smile."
Luckily for all of those involved, the tradition lived on. The following year, when Brooklyn was turning 4, Dospon once again pulled through with an amazing gift. And it was perfect since April 7th fell on a Thursday that year. Together the Andracke family and Dospon enjoyed the pink and purple cupcakes he brought over.
A Role Model
The viral video and story of the garbage man and Brooklyn touched the hearts of many. Their friendship showed the world that a stranger's kindness can go a long way. "Love is the only thing that matters at home, in our community, and worldwide but it's the willingness to truly understand its degrees that matter," Dopson wrote.
"When you decide to pursue its roots and understand its truth, it cuts through all types of ignorance..." he added. "So much that our young people understand it, and they embrace its nature without any expectations." His time with the Andrackes meant a lot to him, but sadly that time was coming to an end.
Although Dospon adored his job as a garbage man and helping out the community, he always saw that job as a stepping stone for his future endeavors. For many years he was honored to spend his days driving around and emptying garbage bins, but he knew he was destined for something bigger.
"I don't get paid to dump trash, I get paid to SMILE and WAVE," he said on a Facebook post about how many amazing families he's met working. "Nothing better than good people connecting with good people." But sadly, he would say goodbye to that as his dreams slowly became a reality.
To really get a head start on things, he needed to say goodbye to his current job. "Changing the world starts with discovering, developing, and refining you. The reflection of greatness is the best beam of light!" Dopson advised his friends on Facebook, eager about his future.
But, of course, he was also sad to leave his old life behind, especially the Andrackes. "Though I don't see them every Thursday like I would like… the great memories we were able to build over the last three years seeing each other will always make me smile and even catch onion eyes at times," Dopson said.
Of course, the Andrackes weren't just gonna let Dopson leave without giving him a proper send-off. Traci got help from her family and neighbors to place many signs across their street thanking Dopson for all the hard work he had done for them the past few years.
The whole block was filled with signs that read, "We appreciate you." They even got him a cake that had icing writing that read, "We will miss you Delvar." It was a bittersweet moment for everyone that day. But they all knew it was the best decision for Delvar's future.
His act of kindness had the internet believing this was just a one-time thing. As it turned out, he had formed a close relationship with many other families on his route who were all so sad to see him go. And if Dopson was so kind to strangers, we can't even imagine what he's like with his own family.
Dopson and his wife, Bonnie, had a close and loving relationship. And with her support, he was able to achieve success in both his career as a garbage man and in his future job. Dopson noted, "When a man commits to understanding the value of a woman and her unlimited abilities, she will respect him and his vision."
The Hustle Continues
Nearly all the residents who lived on the streets Dopson drove by as a garbage man knew that he was hard-working and did his job spectacularly. But what they might have not known was that his day job wasn't the only time he put in a lot of work. The truth?
Because he also had a night shift! Despite the long hours spent emptying garbage bins around town, Dopson still managed to stay awake through the evening studying for this new career. Okay, so maybe it wasn't exactly another job, but it was still impressive that he could pursue two things at once. We applaud him!
New Realator On the Block
With a new career came a whole new city. It seemed like Dopson had a lot to say goodbye to in 2018 because he moved all the way to Nevada. "Thank you, Bloomington, and I love you!" he posted on social media, "309 to 310. Like always, Be POSITIVE and be PRODUCTIVE... Love, LIVE life. Take care."
After endless nights of studying the real estate manual, Dopson took the exam in 2021 and passed! His dream of being a realtor was finally coming true. And once again, he would use his profession as a way to connect and help those in his communities.
"I'm more excited for the many individuals/families who will discover the joys of access by way of what we know as homeownership," Dopson excitedly shared on his Facebook about his new job. "Life is always good when you can assist others in getting what they want."
But his day job wasn't the only times Dopson aimed to inspire others. His Facebook page started to become filled with various quotes and motivational paragraphs that he himself had written. That one fateful video caught by the neighbor was just one small act of kindness Dopson had done out of hundreds.
And it looked like all of his good karma was coming back to him. Shortly after passing the real estate license test, Dopson got offered an amazing offer. The former garage truck driver was asked to come work at a prestige real estate firm in Henderson, Nevada.
Of course, he accepted the job opportunity at Realty One and moved to the suburban town to get started. Things were looking up for Dopson. Although he loved working as a trash collector, his true career dreams were finally becoming a reality. Little did he know, things were just getting started.
Meet His Muse
Of course, he was ecstatic about being welcomed onto his new real estate team. But just because one of his dreams was accomplished didn't mean that Dopson had completely lost sight of his other aspirations. One thing that had always inspired him was the woman who raised him.
His mom was the woman who helped Dopson understand how to become the best version of himself. With the help of his mother, he soon realized that was his passion: to help other people become the best version of themselves. That's when an idea sparked inside of him.
Sharing His Wisdom
For a long time, he was able to inspire his community with his kind gestures and motivational words. This fact wasn't a secret, so along with being a professional realtor, Dopson also became a motivational speaker so he could help others reach their full potential in life.
"Who you are, but no one knows it yet… that's your potential," he said. But his goal wasn't to just to use his words alone - instead, he wanted to go above and beyond that and instead actually start a movement that would give people a push into becoming their best selves.
Sparking a Movement
When Dopson puts his mind to something, he gets it done. After deciding he wanted to help others, he went out and became a part of the Eregon 206 movement. This is described as "Those living the Eregon 206 lifestyle Inspire others to Become Their True Self, Empower those who are seeking, while Influencing those around them."
Through his selfless acts of kindness, motivation to get things done, and love for his family and community, he was able to teach others by example. He settled down in Nevada and became a big influence on the community. But throughout his new prosperous life, he never forgot about little Brooklyn back in Bloomington.
A Lasting Friendship
Despite moving across the country and no longer seeing Brooklyn once a week, Dopson still remains close with the Andrackes. Even 6 years after they first spent Brooklyn's birthday together, the former garbage man still makes sure to wish her a happy birthday.
Most recently, she turned 9. And to celebrate, Dopson shared a picture of the young girl on Facebook. "Please help me wish the coolest kiddo in the land 'BROOKLYN' a 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!'" he captioned the picture. "Wishing you a day filled with HAPPINESS and a year filled with JOY. HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIDDO."