Philip Barajas always had an interest in the big and loud, trash trucks. His grandmother, Rachel Barajas old said “He would say Nana here comes the trash. And he would run to the window and look.” His mom Diane Barajas said, “From the moment his grandma bought his first toy garbage truck. He played with it for hours and that’s what he wanted to do.”

Because Philip was a shy kid growing up his grandmother encouraged him to do something nice to talk to his local garbage man. “Handing them treats was kind of the best thing to do and they start talking to you and it kind of brings you out of your shell,” Barajas said. Eventually, they all got to know him well. Donald Lucero all picked up trash in the neighborhood for years, so often that Philip knew his exact route. Lucero said “Every time I would turn a corner he was standing there. So I waved at him at least 40-50 times a day like ‘hey.’ So he knew exactly where I was going, you know so that’s how we became friends.”

Through the challenges he faced, in order to make his dream come true, the very people he looked up to helped him be where he is today. “Donald Lucero, probably one of the best drivers I know. My best friend, he picks up recycling here at my house. He’s really been an inspiration to me and I can honestly call him a father figure,” Philip said. Just days before Christmas the family had tears in their eyes seeing for the first time Philip doing the job he’s dreamed about his whole life. “It was like his dream come true and our dream come true for all of us because we were all there rooting him on,” his grandma said.

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Author: Stephanie Muniz, KOAT 7 News 
Image: KOAT 7 News