Breaking News
More () »

6-year-old on a mission to 'keep her city clean'

Erin Clayton was walking dogs with her parents when she noticed trash on the ground.

MESQUITE, Texas — It was during one of their nightly dog walks, 6-year-old Erin Clayton saw something that stopped her in her tracks: trash.

She pointed it out to her mom and dad.

“And she would not let it go,” said Eric Clayton, Erin’s dad.

Eric says every night they walked through their Mesquite neighborhood and every night, it was the same thing.

Clearly, Erin was bothered by every piece of trash she saw.

“Because they’re not following the rules,” she said.

Erin couldn’t understand why people didn’t put their trash in a trash can. After pointing it out day after day, while they walked, Eric suggested bringing a trash bag.

He assumed if they picked some of it up that would quiet her concern.

“But she just kept going and going,” Eric said. “And it hasn’t stopped since then.”

Pretty much every night, for two months, Erin has picked up trash. And she sees everything.

“She has 20/20 vision [for trash],” Eric said.

When we met Erin outside her school, it took 10 minutes just to make it down one short sidewalk, which has made their nightly walks much longer.

“A whole lot longer,” Eric laughed. “It turned into an hour real fast.”

“I wanted to keep the city clean,” Erin said.

She wants to keep the city clean because she says it’s the right thing to do.

A lot of people agree.

Neighbors saw what Erin was doing and pitched in to buy trash bags and other supplies. Even someone from New York caught wind and bought her a wagon.

“Words can’t even express how proud I am,” Eric said.

Erin hopes others will do the same.

So far, she has stayed in her neighborhood, but is willing to criss-cross the city picking up trash. Her parents say they’ll be behind her every step of the way.

“I don’t think my knees can take that,” Eric laughed. “Whether she wants to pull me [in a wagon] or not, that’s another question.”

Metaphorically, of course.

Before You Leave, Check This Out