Generally, the type of people who get mobbed by fans around Chavez Ravine wear baseball uniforms. But the heroes at an event Saturday afternoon weren't wearing Dodger blue; their uniforms were sanitation green.
At an open house hosted by the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation at its yard in Lincoln Heights, trash truck-driving workers were celebrated by the public, many of whom expressed remarkable devotion to the city employees.
Jill Kasofsky, 46, of Mount Washington attended with her wife and son. They all wore shirts emblazoned with "Kenny Fox Rocks." Fox, their local garbage collector, was at the event doing trash truck demonstrations. Fox, who donned a personalized "Kenny Fox Rocks Club" T-shirt the family gave him, said he was humbled by their show of love.
Kasofsky said her young son awaits garbage days with great excitement. Fox, who's served the family for three years, will often acknowledge the boy with a toot of his horn.
Nathan Lew, 33, drove all the way from Irvine with his wife and 3-year-old son — who, he said, is a garbage devotee. The boy often demands that his parents play him YouTube videos of trash trucks in action.
Asked what it is about garbage trucks that fascinate him, Josh answered simply: "They go up, up, dump."
The open house was one of several the agency puts on at yards around the city to promote recycling. Along with truck demonstrations by local garbage collectors, attendees were treated to free mulch, recycling-themed beanbag tosses and free plants and trees. Complimentary sodas and bottled water were offered in blue recycling bins. The smoke from grilling burgers and hot dogs wafted through the row of sanitation trucks.
Mary Szeto of Mount Washington attended with her two sons, 4 and 2. She said her 4-year-old always points out the sanitation yard from the back seat when they drive past the yard on the freeway. She figured the open house would be the perfect opportunity to satisfy her son's love of all things garbage.
"My kids love the trash truck. Every time they see it every Tuesday they run after him," she said. "Trash truck drivers, that's they're heroes."
Oscar Garcia, 26, of Eagle Rock said he attended with his wife and son to teach the 4-year-old about recycling. His son is responsible for separating bottles and cans from the family's trash and tossing them into the recycling bin.
"It's a good thing for him to learn," Garcia said. "He's the future."
The Department of Public Works holds open houses like Saturday's regularly. The next one is scheduled for June 5 at the South Los Angeles District Yard.