TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Hillsborough County hero was honored Wednesday for saving a child’s life. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister presented a Citizen Lifesaving Award to a sanitation worker from Waste Connections who discovered a little boy playing hide-and-seek in a garbage can.
That child is alive today because of the quick-thinking actions of Waldo Fidele, who rescued the child just in the nick of time.
The day it happened would change both of their lives forever. That Tuesday in early February started out like any other but, by day’s end, Fidele was a hero, saving a 7-year-old Elias Quezada from certain death.
Quezada was in a garbage can hiding during a game when the Waste Connections truck scooped up the trash can and dumped it inside the garbage truck during a collection route.
Unbeknownst to him, his young life was seconds away from being taken away. That is until Fidele took swift and decisive actions to stop a terrible tragedy from taking place.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, no doubt that Mr. Fidele saved him by seeing him in his truck,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Indeed, this hero jumped into action when he saw something highly unusual in his truck’s surveillance camera – a child who fell from a garbage can into the truck’s trash compactor where a blade was waiting to crush the contents.
The boy’s grandmother, Carmen Salazar, says she feels so much gratitude for this hero.
“We are grateful my grandson is alive. We never knew where he was.” Salazar said through tears
Fidele, who is a father himself, says he began crying when he saw the child terrified and screaming for help.
“I come outside. I see him, he seemed happy, happy! I said ok, you’re ok now,” said Fidele.
With tears in her eyes, Salazar explained how her family members are beyond grateful that a total stranger gave them the ultimate gift – one that will last a lifetime.
“What can say,” the boy’s grandmother said tearfully. “I was very scared that day, but also I’m very grateful. Mr. Fidele, you saved the life of my grandson.”