This is a Chilliwack story about the ripple effects of some Christmas kindness.
It all started with a Christmas card from seven-year-old Keagan Brix, left last week for the waste collector who picks up the trash and recycling every week.
The truck driver, Jamie Boucher, who works for Emterra Environmental, was so touched by the the simple gesture, he decided to take it a step further.
Boucher said he thought about ways to positively “imprint” the youth.
“I wanted to reciprocate to show him it’s a good thing to give,” he told The Progress.
He didn’t tell a soul what he was going to do.
“I just did it.”
He wrapped a little gift containing a much in-demand remote control car — with the batteries included for immediate enjoyment — and dropped it off outside the Brix household in Sardis. He left it sitting by the garbage can so they’d be sure to find it.
Boucher said he had remembered exactly which house the card came from.
“Needless to say the present was greatly appreciated by Keagan,” said Mandi Brix, Keagan’s mom. “He’d been begging us for a remote control car for Christmas for ages.”
Her youngest of four children was very excited, not only to get the toy car gift, but also to be receiving some attention from the media for his act of kindness.
“I agree with Jamie that this kind of experience can imprint a person. It has impacted my other children as well,” Brix said
“We weren’t expecting a response, and for Jamie to leave him a gift like this, it brought tears to my eyes. I knew it was from him.”
The Brix family moved from northern Mexico to Chilliwack recently. The whole situation has made them realize how important it is to thank community workers for their service.
“Keagan was very honoured,” said Brix. “He didn’t expect Jamie to be so thrilled by his Christmas card.”
It was the swamper, Eric Hyrnkiw, who spotted the envelope and threw the card into the truck. When Boucher ripped open the card from Keagan, he was simply “blown away” to be thanked for his work by a young person.
“I would love to take credit for this, but I can’t,” Brix laughed.
One of the Sunday school teachers at the Church of God on Lewis Avenue got the children busy filling out Christmas cards for the community workers in their neighbourhoods during communion recently.
Keagan decorated the card for Boucher with drawings of Christmas trees and ornaments, while his siblings, James, Kaylee and Liam, filled out cards for paramedics, firefighters and police officers.
The festive card written with different coloured markers had the following message for the waste collector: “Thak you for picking up our garbage. Gud Jobe!”
And Boucher found it heartwarming, even the little spelling mistakes which made it clear the card was written by a younger person learning to spell.
He told the boy when he met him in person on Tuesday: “Always remember that when you put good out there, and show some heart, it will always come back to you.”
Keagan thanked Boucher for the toy car, beaming a big smile when he met the waste collector.
Boucher has worked for Emterra for six years, and the number of times people bother to show their appreciation has actually decreased over time.
“I think the gift of giving has been lost. But in the act of giving, you also always receive.”
The truck driver, who is also a dad, said he knows it takes a community to raise a child.
“I wanted Keagan to know that if he leads with his heart, he’ll never lose his way.”