The terrified boy thought it was the end for him and began screaming loud enough for his grandmother, inside the house, to hear his voice.
A little boy in Florida narrowly escaped with his life after he was dumped into a garbage truck and was saved just moments away from being crushed to death along with the rest of the trash.
Full of energy and curiosity, 7-year-old Elias Quezada was playing a game outside his grandmother's house in Hillsborough County before deciding to hide inside a trash can and keep the lid closed. Things quickly took a serious turn when a garage truck arrived, scooped up the trash with its electronic arm, and tossed all of its contents into the truck, including the little boy.
Usually, whatever makes its way inside the garbage truck gets crushed within a matter of seconds. And Elias thought it was the end for him when he was dumped in the truck. "I thought I was going to be a mashed potato," the boy told FOX 13.
The terrified boy screamed loud enough for his grandmother to hear his voice from inside the house, and she immediately ran out.
"I thought that Elias was under the wheels. That he had been hit or something," grandmother, Carmen Salazar said.
Luckily, the driver of the truck was keeping an eye on the surveillance camera and he saw the unusual sight of a child being dropped into the truck with all the trash. He immediately switched off the blade that is used to crush the garbage, and at the nick of time, managed to save the boy.
"It was a bad day for me. I was scared," said the driver, Waldo Fidele, but he proved to be a hero that day.
"I come outside, I see him, he seemed happy," Waldo said, as reported by NBC News. "I said OK, you’re OK now."
Shawn Plunkett, the operations manager for Waste Connections of Florida Operations in Tampa, was proud of Waldo's quick actions and for saving the boy from losing his life.
"He’s truly a hero," said Shawn, according to Tampa Bay Times. "If he hadn’t been paying close attention to the job, we would all be searching for a missing seven-year-old today."
Explaining how the story could have ended much differently, Shawn explained, "The truck instantly treats trash like a garbage disposal does. Then after it is in the truck, it heads straight to an incendiary. Nobody would have ever known what happened to him."
Thanks to the driver, Elias lived to tell the bizarre tale and walked away with only a scratch on his wrist.
Kurt Salac, the director of Fidele’s company, called it a miracle and said, "Waste management workers are often the unsung heroes of a community. But we believe this action deserves some praise from everyone."
Grandmother, Carmen, is more than grateful to see Elias safe and sound, and she said, according to NBC News, "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."
When young Elias was asked if he would ever jump into a trash can again, the boy told FOX 13 that he would not, "unless it’s like a tiny trash can that’s inside the house. That might be fine.