Stranger Offers to Help Toddler's Grieving Family

2-year-old Jiovani was struck and killed by a private trash truck

By Chris Chan
|  Sunday, Jun 20, 2010  |  Updated 3:57 PM PDT
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Child Struck, Killed by Trash Truck

Angelos Papazis

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Stranger Offers to Help Toddler's Grieving Family

Funeral services have been offered free of charge to the grieving parents
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The grandfather of two year-old Jiovani Louangxaysonxham stayed on his knees before a small altar Saturday.

While he spoke little English, his grief over the loss of his grandson was obvious.  With tears in his eyes, he did not stand in the room that was cleared of furniture and the floor covered with straw mats.

Along with large photos, the toddler's favorite toys like trains and small cars were placed on the altar.  A burger, fries and a juice box sat on a plate with ketchup poured for the boy.  

Candles were lit and incense burned.

Family members said Jiovani's parents were devastated by the loss of their youngest son.  But said they will celebrate his life for one week before conducting funeral services, which is a custom of this Laotian family.

The two year-old died Friday afternoon when he ran onto a busy 43rd Street in Mountain View and was run over by a garbage truck.  He was running towards his father across the street.

Near the site of the accident, friends, family and neighbors placed flowers, toys and food on the sidewalk to remember young Jiovani.

Michael Miller, President of the El Camino Memorial Park, saw the story of the accident on the news and was compelled to reach out.

"It's always sad when a death occurs but something like this is unbelievable," said Miller.

He has offered funeral services to the family free of charge to the grieving parents.  

"We're honored to be part of this community and want to help in any way we can," he said.

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