ASHLAND - Keegan Taylor pretty much lives for Wednesdays.
Every week, the 4-year-old waits by the window or in the yard at his home in the Artesian Lake neighborhood outside Ashland. When Keegan spots the Rumpke Waste garbage truck, he waves. His hero, driver Joe King, greets him with a honk.
"He will talk about it all day," Keegan's mother, Niki said. "My husband, Derek, will come home and ask, 'Did the garbage truck come today?'"
Keegan's love of garbage trucks runs so deep, he even had a garbage truck cake for his last birthday.
Keegan's enthusiasm for the truck and its driver has made the boy's house a special stop on the route for King. He even put a note on his route sheet to let substitute drivers know to honk for the little boy at the Taylors' house.
"Anything to make a kid happy," said King, who lives in Mansfield. "I think kids like any kind of big equipment."
Last Wednesday, King left a note for Keegan.
"Dear lil Buddy," he wrote. "Let me know if the driver next week doesn't toot the horn for ya. I'm going on vacation. Have a good day."
Keegan was ecstatic, and his mother posted a picture of him with the note on Facebook. She wanted to thank King and to let him know how much his kindness meant to her son, but she didn't know who he was.
A friend eventually tagged King in the post, and he was happy to know he had made the boy's day. So King asked if he could stop by the Taylor's house Thursday to surprise Keegan with a toy garbage truck and a high visibility work shirt.
"Joe got down at (Keegan's) level and just talked to him about what it's like to drive a garbage truck, and he told him he could drive one someday too," Niki Taylor said. "This was really just the culmination of weeks and months of him making the choice to honk and waive at my son. He didn't have to do that."
Niki said Keegan has been playing with the truck constantly. He wore the work shirt all day and then insisted on sleeping in it.
King said he hopes he has had a positive influence on Keegan, and Niki said the experience is one her son is unlikely to forget.
"There are good people out there in this world, and a little act of kindness can impact people more than you imagine," Niki said. "I want people to remember that and try to be more like Joe."