‘You Are the Best Part of My Day!’ Girl With Special Needs Forms Special Friendship With Sanitation Worker
Emma Grace Johnson’s face lights up every time she sees the garbage truck coming down her street. The five-year-old girl with special needs from Vestavia Hills, Alabama has had a hard year — from pandemic isolation to losing her terminally ill grandfather — Elbert Berry, the sanitation worker, has proven to be a moment of happiness for a grieving family.
Berry comes by the Johnson home every Tuesday and Thursday, and Emma Grace anxiously waits to see her ‘best friend.’ “He is the kind of person we should all try to be more like,” said Emma Grace’s mother Laura Johnson.
Emma Grace was born “micro-preemie” in Hungary and spent four months in the NICU before being moved to an orphanage, where she lived until she was adopted by the Johnson’s at the age of three.
During the pandemic, Emma Grace isolated with her grandfather to stay safe from the virus. He passed away in September of last year, and his granddaughter was devastated.
Then, one day, Emma Grace caught the attention of Berry, and a friendship was born. When in-person school resumed, Emma Grace wanted to take a picture with Berry so she could show her friends in class. For his birthday, she made Berry a special birthday card. “The baby made me a birthday card, a handmade birthday card,” Berry said. “It said, ‘I love you,’ and she stuck the picture inside.”
Berry was especially touched and decided to give him a photo locket with their picture inside, and the message engraved on the back says: “You are the Best Part of my Day!”
“When he gave her the necklace his face just lit up. He was so proud to give it to her and make her smile,” Laura Johnson said. “And it made me think that he was the kind of person who should be celebrated, but probably more important than that, he is the kind of person we should all try to be more like.”
Image source: WVTM 13