A Broken Arrow toddler got quite a surprise for his birthday after video showing his excitement over the garbage truck gained attention all over the world.
For Cooper Ashley’s second birthday his parents threw him a “Trash Bash” – an appropriately named party for a little boy who loves trash.
“Trash is the obsession,” his mom Erin said.
“It's all about the trash for him,” Cooper’s dad Ross added.
Trash trucks were on Cooper’s hat, shirt, cake and cookies. The gifts even followed theme with toy trash trucks and real trash cans, even one with his name on it.
“Yeah, custom, he’s pretty big time,” Ross added.
But the best presents, two Green Country Trash trucks, came rolling down the street, honking as Cooper waved from his yard.
“Out of all the negatives it just takes one positive to wipe it all away,” said Brett Cole who helps run Green Country Trash. “This puts a big smile on our face, kind of gives everybody a little pep in their step.”
The Green Country Trash workers weren't there to pick up the garbage, though. They stopped by to drop off birthday presents for their buddy Cooper, who stands outside every Monday morning to wave hello.
“Sometimes he'll bring us out waters and stuff like that,” said sanitation worker Jonathan Haring. “His excitement, just his joy, it makes us love what we do. We enjoy coming by here, makes our day every Monday.”
The tradition started back in March when the school where Ross teaches closed for the pandemic.
“Him being off work for this extended period of time has given him the opportunity to be out there when we normally wouldn't be home,” Erin said.
And every Monday, Cooper’s reaction is the same—pure, innocent joy.
“We see them turn the corner and immediately his face lights up and those guys start waving and it's awesome,” said Ross.
One morning back in June Cooper's family captured the weekly greeting on camera. The video went viral with nearly 10 million views and 52,000 shares and counting.
The video hit social media when people needed it most. Folks from all over the world reached out to Cooper's mom and dad to let them know their son is making a difference.
“Some people are like, 'I watch this video all the time and it makes me smile,’” Erin said. “It was just cool to see so many people say so many encouraging things and there was one guy that said, 'I'm a cranky old vet and this even made me smile.'”
It's happiness his parents see every day and a reminder of what they've known all along.
“We have a special little boy,” Erin said. “He's gonna be a world changer.”
Erin said she took screen shots of many of the comments made on social media so she can show Cooper when he’s older.
“I'm just honestly thankful for the technology we have to be able to document all this stuff so we can look back on it and laugh later,” she said.