7-Year-Old Elias Quezada Was Trapped in a Trash Truck — Story of His Miraculous Rescue

Mabale Moloi
Feb 16, 2021
08:30 P.M.

7-year-old Elias Quezada, who got dumped into a sanitation truck while inside a trash can, was saved by the truck's alert driver, Waldo Fidel. Quezada's grandmother, Carmen Salazaar, is thankful for Fidel's quick reaction.


Elias Quezada thought it would be a good idea to hide inside his grandmother's trash can while playing outside her home in Hillsborough County. That was until the sanitation truck arrived for its routine garbage pick-up.

Quezada's grandmother, Salazaar, who was inside her house, said her grandson had only been playing outside for a few minutes when she heard the truck outside. Moments later, she heard a scream.

A row of multi color garbage cans, not unlike the one Elia Quezada, 7 hid inside before being dumped in a sanitation truck. | Photo: Pexel.

A row of multi color garbage cans, not unlike the one Elia Quezada, 7 hid inside before being dumped in a sanitation truck. | Photo: Pexel.

Quezada had been scooped up and thrown into the truck. Luckily, the truck driver, Fidel, had been observing his surveillance camera as the trash can tipped over and immediately shut off the blades. Asked if he'd been scared, Quezada said:

"Yes, cause I felt like I was gonna be a mashed potato."


The terrified boy recalls thinking that his life was going to come to an end the moment the automated arm of the truck grabbed the trash can, picked it up, and flung him over.

Meanwhile, Fidel told reporters that as he watched the surveillance camera, he noticed something fall out of the trash can. Watching the surveillance camera is something all drivers are trained to do with each drop.

"Two San Francisco kids have been found safe after a minivan they were left in was stolen."

Following the near-fatal experience, Fidel jumped out of the truck to check if Quezada had suffered any injuries. After establishing the boy was okay, he called 911. One of Fidel's colleagues described his quick thinking and actions as heroic.

A giant blue truck parked on the street. | Photo: Pexel.

A giant blue truck parked on the street. | Photo: Pexel.


Both Quezada and Salazaar share the same sentiments of Fidel being a hero and expressed gratitude for saving the young child's life. Salazaar said Fidel's efforts prevented what could have been a devastating result, saying:

“I’m very thankful that he was looking at that camera at that time and he acted so fast because otherwise, he wouldn’t be here.”

The sanitation worker and inquisitive explorer have since struck up a friendship, with Fidel advising Quezada to tell all his friends that hiding and playing inside of trash cans is forbidden going forward.

In a similar story of kids surviving harm, two San Francisco kids have been found safe after a minivan they were left in was stolen. According to California Highway Patrol, the abduction occurred at 8:47 pm in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.


Jeffrey Fang had been making deliveries when he left the two kids in the minivan with the engine running. A thief took the vehicle, subsequently kidnapping Winnifred, 4, and Sean Fang, 1.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male, who is 5 ft 10 and was considered two be armed and dangerous. Authorities issued an Amber alert covering the Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, and Santa Clara counties at 11 pm.

By 1 am, San Francisco police posted a Tweet revealing that both children had been found unharmed. A GoFund Me page has since been started to assist the owner of the minivan with the costs incurred due to the theft.

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