February 28, 2021

Florida Sanitation Worker Saves Life of 7-Year-Old Boy Who Climbed inside a Trash Can

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A 7-year-old boy from north Tampa was playing inside a trash can outside of his home when the garbage truck was picking the garbage on his street, and the quick intervention of a sanitation worker saved his life.

7-year-old Elias Quezada from Tampa, Florida, made headlines recently because of an incident that could have led to a tragedy but thanks to the life-saving actions of an attentive dump truck driver.

The events took place on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, in the northern area of the aforementioned city, as several news outlets have reported in recent days, and it all started with the curious Elias climbing into a garbage can outside his home.  



Elias was playing outside while his grandmother Carmen Salazar remained inside the family home, and she noticed that something had gone wrong with her grandson as soon as she heard the boy scream.

"I thought that Elias was under the wheels. That he had been hit or something," Mrs. Carmen told Fox13 on February 11, when Elias was safe and sound with this life-threatening experience behind.


There was nothing that Mrs. Carmen could have done to save her grandson at the moment of his frightened scream, but, fortunately, the truck’s driver Waldo Fidele's quick-thinking gave Elias an odd chance to survive.

As Fidele later shared, he was checking his surveillance camera as the arm of the truck picked up the can with Elias in it, and he had the reflex to immediately stop the blade that chops up the garbage.


While Elias is now fully aware of the dangers of playing inside a trash can, and he says he will never do something like this again, we can’t help but smile when we hear the words he said when asked if he was scared. As he told Fox13:

“I thought I was going to be a mashed potato."


"[Waldo Fidele is] truly a hero. If he hadn't been paying close attention to the job, we would all be searching for a missing 7-year-old today. Nobody would have ever known what happened to him," Fidele’s manager Shawn Plunkett told local media.

As Plunkett, from Waste Connections of Florida Operations explained that the garbage truck no only breaks down the trash mechanically but also takes its contents to a waste incinerator.


Fidele, who works with this machinery every day, is very aware of what could have happened to the boy if he hadn’t press the stop button as quick as he did, so, even if he did right, he remembers it as "a bad day."

It was a bad day for me. I was scared," Fidele admitted, but, luckily, Elias walked out of the situation with only a cut on his forearm, and he and his savior could pose for pictures together with smiles on their faces. 

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