3-Year-Old Girl Gives Garbage Man A Birthday Cupcake, And Our Hearts Melt From Sweetness


Garbage men don’t have easy jobs. But 34-year-old Delvar Dopson’s became sweeter when 3-year-old Brooklyn Andracke waited for his arrival and gave him one of her birthday cupcakes.

Her mother, Traci, said her chatty daughter was “instantly speechless” when she finally met Dopson for the first time after waving to him for a year.

I would be, too, as an onlooker or as a garbage collector—it’s not every day we see them picking up edible food, like a cupcake, versus spoiled food, i.e., garbage. And from an adorable 3-year-old, no less.

Even before the cupcake day, Brooklyn would look forward to Dopson’s weekly “visits,” so to speak, asking if it’s garbage day yet (even if it’s just Monday).

“He’s her “favorite, awesome, smiley, garbage man,” Traci said in a note to the city of Bloomington, IL, who shared the story on the city’s Facebook page. Brooklyn loves to wave to him each week, and Traci takes Brooklyn looking for Dopson if they don’t see him drive by their house. (Best. Mom. Ever!)

“Every… Thursday, my heart is full when I see the joy that our amazing garbage man brings Brooklyn when he honks and waves at her with a BIG smile,” Traci wrote.

Traci learned that Dopson doesn’t have any kids of his own, but mentors several children and loves them.

“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,” she also wrote in her note. “Then… (melt my heart)… he explained that he looks forward to seeing us every Thursday as well.” So sweet, right?

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City of Bloomington - City Hall / Facebook

“After he left, we continued on to daycare,” Traci wrote. “Brooklyn was unusually quiet in the backseat. I asked her if she was okay, and she said, ‘Mommy, I’m so happy.’”

The week after the cupcake incident, Dopson brought Brooklyn a gift—some Frozen toys for her birthday. Okay, now he’s becoming my favorite garbage man, too.

little girl frozen
David Proeber / The Pantagraph

Of course, Brooklyn responded… with a thank-you sign that now hangs in Dopson’s truck. Aww. Are these two the cutest, or what?!

little girl T U note
David Proeber / The Pantagraph

“I didn’t know I was her idol,” Dopson said. “I just looked forward to seeing this young lady every Thursday. She topped it off last week with a cupcake. It doesn’t matter if I’m a garbage man or if I’m a CFO at State Farm. We all have to discover our gift and be effective… I believe everybody on earth has a gift. Once they discover that gift, that’s when they can make a true difference.”


Now, the story has gone viral, and Dopson, a 10-year public works employee, said he’s heard from sanitation workers from all over the world.

“They’re garbage guys and blue collar workers,” he said. “They’re saying: ‘Garbage guys aren’t all smelly, they’re smiley. Delvar, thanks for representing garbage guys across the nation.’”